Chronic back pain can be debilitating, affecting your daily activities and overall quality of life. If non-surgical treatments like physical therapy and medication haven't worked, you may be considering surgery as an option. One surgical option gaining popularity in recent years is artificial disc replacement. In this blog, we will explore what artificial disc replacement is, how it works, and the benefits it offers.
What Is Artificial Disc Replacement?
An artificial disc replacement procedure is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of a damaged spinal disc with a synthetic disc. This innovative technique restores function and provides relief from discomfort. This procedure is commonly performed on the lumbar or cervical spine to address conditions such as lower back pain, neck pain, and nerve pain. By targeting these areas, it aims to alleviate discomfort and improve overall well-being. The artificial disc is made of metal and polyethylene, and it functions like a natural disc, facilitating movement and absorbing shock.
How Does It Work?
Before the procedure, the patient is given general anesthesia and a small incision is made in the abdomen or neck. Then, the surgeon carefully removes the damaged disc, making sure not to damage any surrounding tissues. The artificial disc is then inserted in place of the natural disc. The surgery generally takes a couple hours, and patients can usually go home the same day or the day after the procedure.
Benefits of Artificial Disc Replacement
One of the main benefits of artificial disc replacement is that it preserves mobility in the spine. Unlike spinal fusion, which fuses two adjacent vertebrae, artificial disc replacement allows for natural movement in the spine. This can help reduce the risk of adjacent segment degeneration, a condition that occurs when the segment above or below a fusion becomes stressed and wears down more quickly.
Another benefit of artificial disc replacement is that it often results in a quicker recovery time compared to spinal fusion. Patients who undergo artificial disc replacement can generally return to work and normal activities within a few weeks, whereas those who have spinal fusion may need several months to recover.
Are You A Candidate for Artificial Disc Replacement?
Artificial disc replacement is not suitable for everyone with back pain. It is typically recommended for patients with specific conditions such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and spinal stenosis. Your surgeon will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if artificial disc replacement is right for you.
In summary, artificial disc replacement is a surgical option for treating back pain that offers several benefits over spinal fusion. It preserves mobility in the spine and results in a quicker recovery time. However, it may not be suitable for everyone and should only be recommended by a qualified surgeon after a thorough evaluation. If you are considering artificial disc replacement, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor to determine if it is the right option for you.