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Artificial Disc Replacement

What is Artificial Disc Replacement?

The ADR procedure is an alternative option to a Fusion surgery. A neurosurgeon performs artificial disc replacement surgery to remove a disc causing pain in the lower spine or the cervical spine (neck) and replaces it with an artificial disc. An artificial disc, which is also known as a disc prosthesis or spine arthroplasty, is made to mimic the the function and shape of a natural disc. If you are experiencing disc pain, then an experienced neurosurgeon could provide relief with prosthetic disc replacement. At Florida Surgery Consultants, we can help those suffering from lower back pain for example, with this procedure. We have locations in Tampa, Brandon, Orlando, Bradenton, Palm Harbor, and The Villages. 

Artificial Disc Designs

Prosthetic discs are classified into two variations, which include total disc and disc nucleus replacement. A total disc, which will be placed between the vertebra by a neurosurgeon, replaces most or all of the damaged disc tissue. A disc nucleus only replaces the center of the disc (nucleus), so the annulus remains intact. Discs can be made of materials that include metal or a combination of metal and plastic.

Who are Ideal Candidates for Artificial Disc Replacement?

For a surgeon to determine if you are an ideal candidate for artificial disc replacement, a few tests may need to be administered. These tests may include:

  • Discography
  • X-rays
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans

Artificial disc replacement may not be suitable for all individuals with lower back pain. It may not be recommended for those who display the following characteristics:

  • Pain caused from one or two intervertebral discs(in the lumbar spine)
  • No bony compression on the spinal nerves
  • No spinal deformities (scoliosis) 

To find out if you are an ideal candidate for disc replacement surgery, the specialists at Florida Surgery Consultants can assess your condition to see if it’s a suitable treatment option.

What is the Procedure for Disc Replacement Surgery?

In most cases, the procedure will range from two to three hours. The surgeon will enter the back through the abdomen with a small incision. The organs and blood vessels will be temporarily moved to one side of the body, which will enable the surgeon to approach your spine while keeping the nerves from moving. When the disc is opened and exposed, the surgeon will remove the damaged disc and replace it with the prosthetic disc.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

Most individuals will remain in the hospital for one to three days following the procedure, which is based on pain levels and return to function. Many patients are encouraged to stand and take a few steps the day following the procedure. With artificial disc replacement, bone healing is not required, so patients are also encouraged to move their mid-sections the first day after surgery. Early movement is thought to speed up rehabilitation and recovery.

Patients will perform simple exercises, such as stretching and walking the first few weeks after artificial disc replacement. However, it is imperative to avoid any activity that could cause the back to hyperextend.

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