When a disc deteriorates, it can cause pain that can prevent you from doing your daily activities. Wear and tear and aging are factors that contribute to the damage and degeneration of discs. Damaged discs can lead to numbness, weakness, and tingling sensations in the arms or legs.
Initially, damaged discs are treated with nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, non-inflammatory pain relievers, and rest. However, if this fails to treat your condition, you might be recommended to undergo artificial disc replacement to retain the spine’s mobility and relieve symptoms.
Surgery and Disc Design
Artificial discs are designed to resemble and function like natural spinal discs. Disc replacement devices substitute the nucleus or the center of the intervertebral disc and the annulus or the outer ring in place. Different designs depend on the condition of the disc, but their primary goal is to simulate spinal function and allow movement and flexibility. They are usually made of metal or metal with a combination of plastic.
Artificial disc surgeries typically take 2 to 3 hours to complete. The procedure is designed to relieve spinal pain by removing the damaged disc. Your surgeon will create an incision in the abdomen to move organs and blood vessels and expose the spine without moving the nerves. The damaged disc is removed using surgical instruments, and the new artificial disc is implanted into the disc space. After the organs and blood vessels are put back in place, the surgeon will close the incision, and you will proceed to recovery.
Recovery and What to Expect After the Surgery
The recovery period may be faster than other back surgeries because it doesn’t require your bone to heal. Generally, recovery can take up to 3 months, but can vary from a few weeks to a few months from patient to patient.
The full recovery time after artificial disc replacement can depend on the lifestyle that you follow and your overall health. If you have a physically-demanding job or have other health conditions that slow down the healing process, your doctor might recommend an extended period of rest and recovery. Following the operation, expect to experience stiffness and pain in your back. You will be required to stay in the hospital for a few days so your surgeon can monitor your progress.
After the surgery, your doctor will give you instructions on how and when you can resume regular activity. You may also be prescribed medications to control pain symptoms and reduce the risk of infection. In some cases, it may be necessary to undergo physical therapy to regain mobility and return you to your daily routine. Your surgeon will provide instructions on the activities you should refrain from after surgery. Your surgeon will also inform you of signs of complications that you should watch out for and when to come back for a check-up.
Maintain a healthy body by integrating appropriate exercise with the help of a physical therapist. This will help strengthen abdominal and back muscles that support the spine. You will be encouraged to walk and stretch as you progress with your recovery. Exercises that strengthen the core muscles, such as yoga and tai chi, are also recommended post-surgery. Make sure to move with caution and follow your surgeon’s orders to avoid triggering any complications.
Artificial Disc Replacement in Colorado
Artificial disc replacement offers relief from chronic pain caused by damaged discs. If you are experiencing disc problems and persistent back pain, Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery is here to help you regain your mobility. We specialize in advanced microsurgical treatments for a variety of neurological and spinal conditions.