Artificial Disc Replacement as a Healthcare Option
Artificial disc replacement (sometimes referred to as spine arthroplasty or toal disc replacement), is a newly emerging healthcare option in the United States for those who opt out of the more conventional spinal fusion. Artificial disc replacement procedures involve spine arthroplasty of both the cervical and lumbar regions.
Opt for Spine Arthroplasty or Total Disc Replacement
Those with degenerative disc disease arising as a result of age, genetics, injury, or general wear and tear should consider artificial disc replacement after non-surgical healthcare options (physical therapy, epidermal injections, etc) fail. Spine arthroplasty overcomes disadvantages such as loss of motion, diminished flexibility, continued degeneration of discs above and below the site of fusion, and increased pain. But as a healthcare option, it should only be pursued after all other remedies have been investigated, since spine arthroplasty is considered extremely major surgery.
Performing Spine Arthroplasty
For upper back, a total disc replacement procedure involves implanting a Bryan cervical artificial disc made of porous, beaded titanium metal into a one-inch long incision in the skin of the neck, just off the mid-line of the spine. After removing the disc using a microscope and surgical instruments, the Bryan cervical artificial disc is placed between the two vertebrae. For lower back pain, a total disc replacement procedure involves implanting a Charité lumbar artificial disc into a small incision on the lower abdomen, below the navel. After the damaged disc is removed from the bones of the spine, two metal plates are pressed into the bony end plates above and below the vacated space. The bone eventually grows over and around the metal plates. A plastic spacer made of a polyethylene core is put between the plates. Recovery time after surgery depends on the condition of the patient, but one should avoid strenuous work or exercise until cleared by a physician or physical therapist.