Two-Level Cervical Disc Replacement Offered

First in Region

September 09, 2015


Penn Highlands Healthcare and University Orthopedics Center are now offering the region’s first two-level cervical disc replacement.

Joel Torretti, MD, a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained spine surgeon, is performing the innovative procedure at Penn Highlands DuBois. The new procedure means that patients, who would normally have undergone a cervical spine fusion procedure, are now able to have The Mobi-C Cervical Disc procedure locally.

The device, first approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2013 after an extensive trial process, has many advantages to both the traditional fusion process and to other implants designed for the same purpose.

“I’m very happy to be able offer my patients this state-of-the-art procedure which is supported by the highest level of medical evidence available for a medical device,” Torretti said. “And for the first time I am able to offer the significant number of my patients who suffer from two-level cervical disease a superior treatment option to traditional cervical spine fusion.”

The device, which is the first and only cervical disc replacement approved by the FDA for both one and two-level applications, has demonstrated great success over traditional approaches. During trials, the two-level cervical disc replacement procedure showed an overall study success rate of nearly 70 percent as compared to traditional cervical fusion results of 37.4 percent. At 24 months, those who received the two-level cervical disc replacement also returned to work on average three weeks earlier as compared to those patients who were treated with cervical fusion. The disc replacement patients also had lower rates of additional surgeries and reduced rates of ongoing degeneration at spinal segments adjacent to the surgery sites.

“Penn Highlands is very proud of Dr. Torretti and the innovative services that he has provided to the region since joining our medical staff in 2013,” PH DuBois President John Sutika said. “Our affiliation with University Orthopedics Center has been very beneficial for orthopedic patients and this is just another great example of how they are keeping us on the cutting edge of orthopedic treatments and surgeries.”

Torretti received his bachelor’s degree in biology-neurobiology from Cornell University and his medical degree from Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey. He did his internship in general surgery and his orthopedic residency in Hershey. He completed master’s degree courses in epidemiology and biostatistics, evaluative sciences and financial management of healthcare institutes at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

Torretti did his fellowship in spine surgery with Dr. James Weinstein in the Department of Orthopedics at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, N.H. and his AOSpine surgery fellowship with Dr. Paul Heini in the University of Bern, Switzerland. AOSpine is a global academic community for innovative education and research in spine care whose goal is to inspire lifelong learning and improve patients' lives.

Torretti has been involved in presentations to national organizations, including the North American Spine Society Annual Meeting and the International Society for the Study of Lumbar Spine. He has been involved in research through Penn State, the University of Maryland Cancer Center and others, as well as publications.

Torretti performs spinal surgeries at PH DuBois and his local office is located in the Medical Arts Building, 145 Hospital Ave., DuBois, where he will have offices hours weekly. Torretti is a part of University Orthopedics Center based in State College. Appointments can be made by calling 1-800-505-2101.