Low back pain very common among people. Most of them may get relief from conservative pain treatments and methods. When all such method fails to cure the pain, the doctor suggests a disk replacement. Disk replacement is a type of back surgery. The procedure involves replacing a worn or degenerated disk in the lower part of the spine. An artificial disk made of medical-grade metal or a combination of medical-grade metal or plastic is used to replace the disk. The procedure is relatively new in the field. Disc replacement is seen as an alternative procedure to the spinal fusion surgery.
A good candidate for disc replacement:
Not all the people with back pain are suitable for disc replacement. Disc replacement is suggested if you:
- Have pain that mostly comes from only 1 or 2 disks in the spine
- Are not excessively overweight
- Don’t have scoliosis or any other spinal deformity
- Have no significant joint disease or compression on the nerves.
The doctor can suggest you if replacement is a best option for you after diagnosing your overall health and other factors.
You will be given general anesthesia before starting the procedure. An incision will be made in the abdomen. In order to allow access to the spine, the surgeon will move the organs and blood vessels to the side. The damaged disc or discs will be removed after that. After the removal of damaged disk, the surgeon will place the artificially made disk in place. After completing the procedure, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures.
You may have to stay in the hospital for three-four days after surgery. You will be allowed to walk and stand without making strain to the disk on the day of surgery itself. Complete recovery may take a few weeks or months of time. Meanwhile, you may be suggested to avoid jarring activities or motion. Simple exercises and therapies may also be suggested during the post-operative period.
It is very common that, every surgery will have certain complications and risks. Some of the potential risks for disc replacement surgery may include:
- Dislocation of the artificial disk
- Implant fracture or failure
- Implant wear or loosening
- Poorly positioned implant
- Rigidity or stiffness of the spine
- Infection of the artificial disk or the area surrounding it etc.
Disk replacement surgery helps to improve the pain. But, it may not eliminate the pain completely. You will have to talk to your surgeon about the possible outcomes and results of the surgery before attending the procedure.