An Overview of Artificial Disc Replacement
Artificial disc replacement is a surgical treatment that replaces damaged spinal discs with manufactured discs. The artificial discs are made of metal and plastic prostheses. The procedure is minimally invasive and involves a shorter recovery than spinal fusion. Surgeons primarily use artificial disk replacement Pittsburgh, PA, on cervical and lumbar discs to relieve painful degenerative disc disease. Your doctor may recommend artificial disc replacement if conservative measures like medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections do not improve your condition. You can also have an artificial disc replacement if you want to avoid spinal fusion surgery.
What happens before the artificial disc replacement?
Before the artificial disc replacement surgery, your specialist will review your overall health to determine whether you are fit for the treatment. The specialist will ask about any medications or herbal supplements you may be taking. Avoid using nicotine and drinking alcohol one week before the surgery, as they slow the healing process. Your specialist will also recommend you stop taking certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines and blood thinners seven days before the surgery.
What should you expect during the artificial disc replacement?
Artificial disc replacement involves general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision at your back and carefully dissect the muscles to access the damaged disc. The surgeon will remove the damaged disc, replace it with an artificial one, and close the subcutaneous layers with a few strong sutures. In most cases, surgeons close the skin with special surgical glue, leaving a minimal scar and requiring no bandage. The artificial discs are designed to move with your spine, restoring your range of motion so you can move again normally and without pain. The entire surgery takes about two to three hours, depending on the number of discs replaced. Depending on the discs being replaced, the surgery may be an outpatient procedure, or you may have to stay in the hospital for one or two days.
What happens after artificial disc replacement?
After the artificial disc replacement, you will be given pain medications to manage your pain for several days. To promote quicker recovery, your physical therapist may show you how to move properly and do gentle exercises. Exercises also help improve motion. Avoid strenuous activities or movements for several weeks. You can perform light duties two to three weeks after surgery if your pain has subsided.
Your surgeon may recommend you return for a checkup every four to six weeks for the provider to confirm the area is stable and healing properly. In most cases, recovery takes two to six weeks. Research shows that artificial disc replacement relieves back pain in about ninety-seven percent of all treated patients.
What complications can happen after artificial disc replacement?
Although rare, you may experience complications like bleeding, surgical site infection, nerve injury, and spinal fluid leak after artificial disc replacement. Some patients may also react negatively to anesthesia.
Artificial disc replacement is a surgical treatment that replaces damaged spinal discs with manufactured discs. Surgeons use it on patients with degenerative disc disease to relieve back pain. The treatment is minimally invasive and has a short recovery period. Schedule an appointment at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center for artificial disc replacement to relieve your back pain from degenerative discs.