When your back hurts, the pain can be unbearable. While most patients can find relief through physical therapy, medication, or other non-invasive treatments, some may require a more aggressive approach, such as surgery. One option available to patients with severe back pain is the artificial disc replacement procedure. Here's what you need to know.
What Is an Artificial Disc Replacement Procedure?
Artificial disc replacement is a surgical procedure that involves removing the natural disc in the spine and replacing it with an artificial one. A disc is a soft, rubbery cushion that sits between the vertebrae of your spine, providing cushioning and flexibility. When a disc has been damaged or worn out, it can cause back pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
Previously, traditional spinal fusion surgery would have been the standard treatment. However, artificial disc replacement surgery is an alternative that preserves some of the spine's natural movement and mobility.
Who Needs an Artificial Disc Replacement Procedure?
An artificial disc replacement procedure is typically recommended for patients with severe back pain, including:
- Patients who have not responded to other treatments
- Those with instability in their spine caused by a degenerative disc disorder
- Patients with a herniated or bulging disc that is causing severe pain and disability
What Are the Benefits of This Procedure?
Artificial disc replacement has many benefits for the right patient, including:
- Motion preservation. The patient retains their spine's natural motion and flexibility, which is not possible with spinal fusion and is important for overall spinal health.
- Decreased risk of long-term complications. Artificial disc replacement has a lower risk of adjacent segment disease, a common complication of spinal fusion, as it places less stress on surrounding discs.
- Preserved disc height. This helps maintain proper spine alignment and can help with stability, posture, and back pain relief.
- Quicker recovery time. Because this procedure preserves the spine's natural flexibility and movement, patients can experience a quicker recovery compared to spinal fusion surgery.
In addition to these primary benefits, artificial disc replacement does not require a patient to wear a brace or undergo an extended period of physical therapy.
When it comes to your health, having options is important. With proper preoperative planning, guidance, and skilled surgeons, artificial disc replacement can be an excellent treatment option for the right patients, as it can significantly improve their quality of life. If you're experiencing severe or chronic back pain, see a specialist who can evaluate your spine and determine if artificial disc replacement might be an option for you.
For more information on artificial disc replacement procedures, contact a professional near you.