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Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery for Herniated Disc Disease: an Overview

Living with herniated disc disease can be a painful and challenging experience for many patients. Fortunately, various treatments are available to help alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by this condition. One of these treatments is artificial disc replacement surgery. Learn about some key points regarding this surgical procedure, including its benefits, risks, and recovery process.

What is Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?

Artificial disc replacement surgery involves removing a damaged or herniated disc and replacing it with an artificial prosthetic device that functions as a natural disc, restoring the spine's normal alignment and providing mobility. The artificial disc is made of metal or plastic parts designed to mimic the structure and movement of a healthy vertebral disc. Physicians often recommend this surgery for patients who have not responded to other conservative treatments for herniated disc disease, such as physical therapy or pain medications. 

Benefits of Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

Artificial disc replacement surgery offers several benefits compared to traditional spinal fusion surgery. Some of these benefits include a quicker recovery time, preserved motion in the spine, and reduced risk of adjacent segment disease. Additionally, artificial disc replacement surgery can help reduce pain and improve the overall quality of life for patients with herniated disc disease.  

Risks of Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

Like any surgical procedure, artificial disc replacement surgery does come with some risks and potential complications. Some of these risks include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and implant failure. Patients need to discuss these risks with their surgeon before undergoing this surgical procedure.

Recovery Process After Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

The recovery process after artificial disc replacement surgery can vary from patient to patient. It will depend on several factors, including the extent of the surgery, the patient's overall health, and the patient's commitment to post-operative care. Generally, patients can expect to spend several days in the hospital after the surgery. They will need to follow a strict rehabilitation plan to help them regain strength and mobility in their spine.

Who is a Candidate for Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?

Doctors recommend artificial disc replacement surgery for patients with herniated disc disease who have not responded to other conservative treatments and who meet certain criteria, including having a healthy weight, non-smoking status, and a lack of osteoporosis or spine instability. Patients need to consult with a spine specialist to determine if they are a suitable candidate for this surgical procedure.

Artificial disc replacement surgery is a safe and effective treatment option for patients with herniated disc disease who have not responded to other conservative treatments. While this surgical procedure has some risks, the benefits of preserved motion in the spine and reduced risk of adjacent segment disease make it a viable option for many patients. Patients considering artificial disc replacement surgery should discuss the risks and benefits with their surgeon and carefully follow the post-operative care plan to ensure a successful recovery.