Artificial disc replacement (ADR) offers patients suffering from chronic, severe back and neck pain the opportunity to retain mobility and resume their lives with minimal pain or discomfort. This type of arthroplasty is an alternative to the traditional surgical procedures that require a lengthy recovery period, loss of mobility and the potential for additional surgeries.
Why Should You Consider ADR?
ADR places less stress on adjacent discs. Less stress equals less risk of degeneration at adjacent disc levels, which reduces the need for additional surgeries. The artificial disc allows for flexion, extension and rotation through the device, therefore preserving the spine’s normal range of motion and flexibility.
Are You a Candidate?
Candidates for ADR have the following characteristics:
- Neck pain with or without arm pain
- Lower back pain with or without leg pain
- Conservative treatment without significant relief of pain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated cervical or lumbar discs
- Previous disc surgery with continued pain
- Have been told they should have a fusion
What Happens During ADR Surgery?
During disc replacement surgery, your surgeon will remove your problematic disc and insert an artificial disc implant into the disc space.
In cervical ADR surgery, the surgeon makes a small one- to two-inch incision on the side or front of your neck. The important structures of the neck are carefully moved to the side until the surgeon can see the front of the cervical spine. The affected disc is then removed and the artificial disc is inserted in its place. The procedure takes approximately 1-2 hours.
In lumbar ADR surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen. The abdominal muscles are gently spread apart and the intestines and large blood vessels are moved to the side until the surgeon can see the front of the lumbar spine. The affected disc is then removed and the artificial disc is inserted in its place. The procedure takes approximately 2-3 hours.
How Long Is Recovery?
On average, most patients are able to go home from the hospital 1-2 days after surgery. Before discharge, therapists work with patients and instruct them on proper techniques of getting in and out of bed and walking independently. Patients recover quickly and most return to work in 2-4 weeks after surgery. Patients can gradually begin to bend, twist and lift after 4-6 weeks as the pain subsides and the back muscles get stronger.
If you don’t want to give up the activities you love and you’re looking for a different option to traditional spine surgery, visit The Center for Disc Replacement to learn more about the procedure and Texas Health Center for Diagnostic & Surgery’s internationally recognized physicians.