Disc replacement surgery is a procedure used to treat severe lower back pain. It’s an increasingly popular option for those dealing with disc degeneration and can help reduce or even eliminate the debilitating symptoms associated with it.
The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of everything you should know about disc replacement surgery – from what it is to what the risks are to how to prepare for the procedure.
What Is Disc Replacement Surgery?
Disc replacement surgery is a type of spinal surgery that involves removing a damaged or diseased disc and replacing it with an artificial disc. This surgery is typically performed to relieve pain and improve mobility in the spine.
The goal of disc replacement surgery is to relieve pain and improve function by restoring the normal motion of the spine. This surgery is usually considered when other conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and medication, have failed to provide relief.
Disc replacement surgery is a relatively new procedure, and there is still some debate about its efficacy. Some studies suggest that disc replacement surgery is no more effective than spinal fusion surgery, while other studies suggest that disc replacement surgery may be more effective in preserving motion and preventing the need for revision surgery.
There are several different types of artificial discs that can be used in disc replacement surgery. The most common type of artificial disc is the metal-on-polyethylene (MOP) disc, which consists of a metal plate with a plastic (polyethylene) insert.
Other types of artificial discs include the metal-on-metal (MOM) disc, which consists of two metal plates, and the ceramic-on-ceramic (COC) disc, which consists of two ceramic plates.
Disc replacement surgery is typically performed using general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in the patient’s back and removes the damaged or diseased disc. The artificial disc is then inserted into the space created by the removal of the disc. The surgeon may also need to fuse adjacent vertebrae together to stabilize the spine.
Pain and discomfort
After disc replacement surgery, patients typically stay in the hospital for one or two days. They will likely experience some pain and discomfort during this time, but this can be controlled with pain medication. Patients will need to avoid bending, lifting, and twisting for four to six weeks after surgery. Physical therapy will be started soon after surgery to help patients regain their strength and range of motion.
Preparing for the surgery
Patients who are considering disc replacement surgery should first consult with a spine specialist to see if they are a candidate for the procedure. Those who are eligible will need to undergo a thorough preoperative evaluation to ensure that they are healthy enough for surgery. This evaluation will likely include a complete medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies.
Once it has been determined that disc replacement surgery is appropriate, patients will need to prepare for the procedure. This includes stopping smoking and all other tobacco use at least six weeks prior to surgery, as smoking can delay healing and increase the risk of complications. Patients will also need to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest to promote healing after surgery.
It is important to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions carefully in the weeks leading up to disc replacement surgery. Doing so will help ensure a successful outcome and minimize the risk of complications. Following these steps will help you be as prepared as possible for this major surgery.
The Benefits of Disc Replacement Surgery
One of the main benefits of disc replacement surgery is that it can help improve motion. This is because the disc acts as a shock absorber in the spine and helps to keep the spine flexible. When the disc is replaced, it can help to restore this flexibility and improve motion. This can be a particularly helpful benefit for patients who have been suffering from pain and stiffness due to a loss of motion in their spine.
Another potential benefit of disc replacement surgery is that it may lead to decreased pain. This is because when the disc is replaced, the damaged disc is removed, and the new disc can help to take on the load that was previously being placed on the damaged disc. This can help to reduce the amount of pain that the patient experiences.
Finally, another potential benefit of disc replacement surgery is a quicker recovery time. This is because this type of surgery is typically less invasive than traditional spine fusion surgery. As a result, patients may not need to spend as much time in the hospital and may be able to recover more quickly at home.
Risks Associated With Disc Replacement Surgery
While this surgery can provide many people with much-needed relief from pain, it’s not without its risks. Here, we’ll explore some of the risks associated with disc replacement surgery so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not this procedure is right for you.
One of the most common risks associated with disc replacement surgery is infection. Infection can occur at the site of the incision or around the artificial disc. Infection is more likely to occur if you have a history of infection, if you have diabetes, or if you are taking steroids.
Disc replacement surgery also carries the risk of blood clots. Blood clots can form in the legs or lungs and can be life-threatening. To help reduce the risk of blood clots, you will be given blood-thinning medication before and after surgery.
Another common risk associated with disc replacement surgery is nerve damage. Nerve damage can occur if the nerves around the artificial disc are damaged during surgery. This damage can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs or arms. In rare cases, nerve damage can be permanent.
There is also a risk that the artificial disc will not fuse to the bones in your spine. This is more likely to occur if you smoke or if you have a history of osteoporosis. If the artificial disc does not fuse properly, it may need to be removed.
As with any surgery, there is also a risk of complications from anesthesia. Complications from anesthesia are rare but can include nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Disc replacement surgery is major surgery and carries all of the risks associated with any major surgery. These risks include bleeding, infection, blood clots, and anesthesia complications.
Before deciding to have disc replacement surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor about all of the risks and potential complications. This
is a big decision and one that should not be made lightly.
All in all, if properly researched and discussed beforehand, then disc replacement surgery can be an effective option for treating severe lower back pain due to disc degeneration – just be sure that you understand everything about it first before making any decisions about whether or not it’s right for you!