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4 Things to Know About Artificial Disc Replacement

Jul 19, 2018

woman experiencing back pain from stenosis

Artificial disc replacement is used when a patient is experiencing a painful disc and a surgeon goes in to replace that painful disc with a new, artificial one. The artificial disc is placed in the spine and meant to imitate the original disc in terms of motion. Post-surgery, while patients will have a range of results, the average patient will be pain-free and able to move more freely. Most spine surgeons will suggest artificial disc replacement when methods such as medication, physical therapy and chiropractic care fail to work, but there are things all patients should know before choosing artificial disc replacement.  

 

Not Everyone is Eligible 

There are a lot of characteristics that can make someone ineligible for a disc replacement. If a patient has painful lumbar discs, but also suffers from osteoporosis or has other spinal problems, like spondylolisthesis or scoliosis, they will not be eligible to undergo artificial disc replacement. If a disc replacement surgery is performed on joints that have any form of arthritic changes, the patient is at risk for increased pain and complications post-surgery. Other factors that can inhibit a patient from receiving this surgery are autoimmune problems, steroid use, or those who have previously undergone abdominal surgery.  

 

It is a Two Person Job 

When dealing with discs, because it is an anterior spinal procedure, the surgeon must move major blood vessels while ensuring the spine is left unharmed. A spine surgeon will be the leader in the artificial disc replacement, but often, a general surgeon is also on hand to assist with the blood vessels and to ensure the spine is not harmed during the procedure.  

 

Your Pain Must Be Extensive 

Surgery is often a last resort for surgeons when it comes to pain related to the spine, back or discs. Often, a surgeon will require a patient to wait six months or more before offering the option for an artificial disc replacement. It is often only after six or more months of severe pain and the use of other methods such as injections, activity modification and spinal manipulation that a surgeon will offer disc replacement as an option to their patients.  

 

It Allows for a Quicker Recovery 

One of the more popular methods for back pain is spinal fusion, and while fusion is a well-tested and successful treatment, it often leads to prolonged recovery where patients are subjected to limited movement and activities while the bone graft grows. The opposite is true for patients who receive an artificial disc replacement, because movement actually helps the patient recover quickly! Therefore, it is encouraged to return to regular movement as soon as possible.  

If you are experiencing spine or neck pain, don’t hesitate to call Back Pain Centers of America at 1-844-201-1308. It is a free call. You will speak with a Patient Navigator who will be able to help you today! Find long-lasting relief. Call today!



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