Artificial Disc Replacement Lumbar & Cervical
What is Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement?
An artificial cervical disc is a device inserted between two vertebrae in the neck in order to replace a damaged disc. The intent of the artificial disc is to preserve motion at the disc space. It is an alternative to the commonly performed anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).
Artificial disc replacement (ADR) surgery—also known as a total disc arthroplasty or total disc replacement (TDR)—is typically performed for a patient with a cervical disc herniation that is causing significant neck pain and/or arm pain that has not responded to nonsurgical treatment options and is significantly affecting the individual’s quality of life and ability to function.
How successful is disc replacement surgery?
No surgery is perfect, there is always a chance the operation may not treat your symptoms. However, for a major procedure in your spine there should be a good rate of success, and cervical disc replacement has a great track record. Cervical disc replacement’s success rate can be as high as 85% over 6 months, and 90% in a year. One of the benefits of artificial disc replacement surgery includes less risk of needing an additional surgery for their neck or back. Going through multiple surgeries over time can cause unneeded stress and strain on the body, so if everything can be resolved with a single surgery that would be the best outcome.
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What are Some Advantages to Having an Artificial Disc Replacement vs Spinal Fusion?
- Better long-term motion and flexibility
- Reducing degeneration of adjacent segments of the cervical spine
- Eliminating potential complications and issues associated with the need for a bone graft and the hardware used in ACDF surgery
- Allowing early postoperative neck motion
- Quicker recovery times following surgery
How long does it take to recover from disc replacement surgery?
When it comes to surgery, the timeframe of recovery is depends on the patient. Overall the general recovery can take up to 3 months, but depending on the lifestyle of the patient, and state of health the recovery time can be longer or shorter by a few weeks. If your job is physically demanding or you have other conditions which may cause the healing process to slow your doctor may recommend longer periods of resting and recovery without strain on your body.
You may feel stiffness in your back or neck and required to stay in hospital a few days so your doctor can ensure your safety before going home. If needed you may be prescribed medications for pain management and reduce risk of infection as the surgery site heals over. Physical therapy is an additional avenue during recovery to help adjust back to your regular life, without risk of injuring your spine.
Who is a Candidate for Spinal Disc Replacements?
ADR surgery is most likely used to treat the following conditions:
- Degenerative Disc Disease. This occurs when intervertebral discs (the soft, gel-like cushions between the vertebrae that absorb pressure and help keep the bones of the vertebrae from rubbing against each other) lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics. The tough outside covering of the disc can become torn, and the soft center starts to dry out and shrink.
- Post-Discectomy Syndrome: This problem sometimes occurs when pain continues following surgery to remove a herniated disc.
- Traumatic injury of the vertebrae.
There are some conditions that may prevent the use of an artificial disc. Some individuals that do not typically do well with ADR include people whose bones are not strong due to aging, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases.