Choosing Better Medical Care
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Choosing Better Medical Care

Do you remember the last time you received truly excellent medical care? Although it isn't always a common thing to find, you can have better luck by doing what you can to research different doctors and medical clinics. I wanted to share this website with the world, since this is what I have been doing for years. It has been a really excellent journey to find different ways to keep great care of myself, and I know that it is all due to the help of my great doctor. Read more about self care on this blog, so that you don't have to settle for anything less than the best.


Choosing Better Medical Care

Artificial Disc Replacement Procedure: An Alternative to Spinal Fusion

Chris Burke

Spinal disc degeneration is a leading cause of back pain. This condition can cause intense discomfort, radiating pain, and reduced mobility. For many years, spinal fusion has been the primary surgical option for treating degenerative disc disease. However, with advances in medical technology, another treatment option has emerged: an artificial disc replacement procedure. 

What is an artificial disc replacement procedure?

An artificial disc replacement procedure is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where an artificial disc is implanted as a replacement for a damaged intervertebral disc. The procedure aims to restore mobility, reduce pain, and prevent further spine degeneration. 

When would someone need artificial disc replacement surgery?
Artificial disc replacement procedures are an option for people with degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or other disc-related problems that cause chronic pain and difficulty in performing normal activities. Some factors that doctors consider in determining if a person is a good candidate include:

  • Age: Most disc replacement surgeries are performed in people between the ages of 18 and 60.
  • Severity of disc degeneration: The degree of disc degeneration determines if a patient is eligible for the surgery. Often, more severely degenerated discs will require surgical intervention.
  • Non-surgical treatments: If non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications, have not improved the condition, then disc replacement surgery may become an option.
  • General health and lifestyle: Patients should be in overall good health and understand the risks and benefits of the procedure.

What are the benefits of an artificial disc replacement procedure?
Artificial disc replacement surgery aims to:

  • Reduce pain: Artificial discs are designed to provide better pain relief than spinal fusions by reducing stress on other spinal segments.
  • Preserve motion: The surgical procedure aims to maintain the range of motion of the spine, working to replicate the natural movement of the spinal column.
  • Shorter recovery time: The recovery time for artificial disc replacement is shorter than that for spinal fusion. Patients can often begin rehabilitation soon after surgery.
  • Low risk of complications: Artificial disc replacement surgery is less risky than spinal fusion because it doesn't require the removal of the entire disc, which can lead to bone grafting and other complications.

What are the risks associated with artificial disc replacement treatments?
As with all surgical procedures, there are some risks associated with artificial disc replacement procedures. Some of these complications include:

  • Nerve damage: Nerve damage, while rare, may be caused by the surgical procedure or the placement of the artificial disc. Your doctor will work to minimize this risk. 
  • Infection: There is a risk of infection after the operation.
  • Wear and tear: Artificial discs may need to be replaced after a certain period, usually after ten to fifteen years.

If you have chronic back pain that does not respond to non-surgical treatments, artificial disc replacement surgery may be something to consider.

To learn more about artificial disc replacement surgery, contact a doctor near you.