Artificial disc replacement surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States to treat excruciating back and neck pain that ceases to improve with noninvasive treatments, like medications, rest, physical therapy, and cortisone shots.
If you have back or neck pain and are considering artificial disc replacement surgery or already have this surgery on the calendar, you are on the right page. Let’s learn more about artificial disc replacement surgery and where you can go to receive this procedurein Colorado Springs.
The History of the Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery
Artificial disc replacement surgery was first performed in Europe in the 1990s after total hip replacement surgery was invented. This procedure has also been performed in the United States since 2000 to relieve back and neck pain.
Artificial disc replacement was developed as an alternative to spinal fusion surgery – a surgery that was a gold-standard treatment for back pain relief until the 1990s. In spinal fusion, two vertebrae of the spine are permanently joined together, so there is no movement between them and, ultimately, no pain.
Artificial disc replacement reduces the complications associated with spinal fusion, such as limited range of motion of the spine.
The Goal of The Surgery
Currently, artificial disc replacement is performed with the goal to:
- Remove the damaged or diseased disc
- Restore the normal height of the vertebral disc
- Decrease back pain resulting from degenerative changes of the intervertebral disc
- Preserve the motion of the affected vertebral portion
- Improve patient goals
Artificial Disc Replacement Procedure
The patient is given anesthesia (mostly general anesthesia) for the artificial disc replacement surgery. The anesthesia sends the patient to sleep so that they are unaware of the surgery and do not move or feel pain while the damaged disc is replaced.
An incision is made to reach the damaged or diseased disc to carry out the procedure. After that, using specially designed surgical tools, the damaged or diseased disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc. The artificial disc is designed to restore the range of motion of the spine while treating back pain so that the patient can move once again normally and without pain. The disc that replaces the damaged disc of the spine may be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic.
The entire artificial disc replacement procedure takes anywhere between two to three hours.
RecoveryFromArtificial Disc Replacement
It is not uncommon for patients to stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days after the procedure – normally, this stay time in the hospital depends on how well-controlled the pain is and the function the patient aims to perform after the recovery.
In many cases, on the very first day after the surgery, patients are asked to stand and walk;this is because earlier motion in the trunk area can lead to quicker rehabilitation and recovery. However, excessive motion is limited so that healing is not interrupted.
During rehabilitation, patients (according to the instructions of the neurosurgeon and physical therapist) perform several passive and active exercises, including routine walking and stretching, to help with healing. It is advised not to do activities that can hyperextend the treated area (back or neck).
The neurosurgeon may also advise what the patient can do and what not during the recovery period as well as will give a realistic expectation for pain relief.
Artificial Disc Replacement in Colorado Springs
At Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, we have a team of highly trained, experienced, and compassionate spine surgeons who offer both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for back and neck pain relief. To determine the right treatment option for your spine condition, they will first assess your spine condition and take into account your overall health.
If surgery is needed, they will walk you through the entire process so that you can make an informed decision about your back or neck pain treatment.