Who to Call When You Need Artificial Disc Replacement in Dallas TX
If the pain caused by disc degeneration can’t be reduced adequately using non-operative treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, injections, or medication, the only viable option might be to replace the damaged disc. Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery of Texas offers the best services in artificial disc replacement in Dallas TX.
Spinal Discs and Their Purpose
Humans normally have 33 vertebrae in the vertebral column, 24 of which in the upper region are articulating. Between each of these vertebral bodies in the upper spine are intervertebral discs, also known as spinal discs. These discs have three main functions:
- Placed between each vertebra, they serve as shock absorbers for the whole spine
- Spinal discs are like tough ligaments holding the spine’s vertebrae together
- To allow slight articulation of the spine, the spinal discs also act as cartilaginous joints.
In the entire spinal column, there are normally a total of 23 intervertebral discs. When problems occur to one or more of these discs, unique symptoms may show up, such as pain. This pain might be originating from the disc itself, or it can be caused by a vertebral disc pressing on a nerve.
What Causes Disc Degeneration?
Spinal discs typically become dehydrated and stiffer over time. This lessens the ability of the discs in adjusting to compression. Although disc degeneration is part of the aging process, it can cause severe pain to some individuals.
When the disc degenerates, it might leak out proteins that can inflame nerves around the disc. Physical injury can also cause damage to the spinal discs. Since no blood is supplied into the spinal discs, they can’t repair themselves.
Who Needs Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?
The requirements for artificial disc replacement differ depending on the implant type. The general indication is when the pain hasn’t been significantly reduced by non-surgical treatments.
Before surgery is recommended, the patient needs to undergo an MRI to confirm disc degeneration. Discography is then used to confirm which of the discs is causing the pain. In this procedure, the dye will be injected into a suspected disc, then a CT scan and X-rays are taken. The surgeon will then correlate all the test results along with the patient’s physical examination and medical history to determine the source of the pain.
Artificial disc replacement is not for everyone. Conditions like autoimmune problems, chronic steroid use, pregnancy, significant facet joint changes, morbid obesity, spinal infection, spinal tumor, allergy to the artificial disc’s material, vertebral body failure, osteoporosis, or spondylolisthesis are conditions that may prevent a disc replacement surgery.
For patients with damaged discs in the cervical vertebrae or the neck area, a cervical artificial disc replacement is done, while for those with lower back or lumbar area pain, it is lumbar artificial disc replacement.
Artificial Disc Replacement or Spinal Fusion?
Although spinal fusion remains the most common surgical approach in the treatment of degenerative discs, artificial disc replacement is slowly gaining popularity. Spinal fusion is basically ‘welding’ the vertebrae caused the pain into a solid, single bone. This prevents normal movement of the spine, and some patients still experienced pain even after a successful operation and healing.
Disc replacement, on the other hand, still allows normal spine motion and is typically less invasive than spinal fusion. The success rate of artificial disc replacement is also significantly higher than that of spinal fusion.
Artificial Disc Replacement Procedure
The disc replacement procedure requires general anesthesia and is administered through an IV line that will be put into a vein in the arm or hand of the patient. This induces deep sleep, which keeps the patient from feeling pain throughout the surgery. The patient will be lying on his or her back for the procedure.
The procedure is usually done together by a vascular surgeon and a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon. An incision is made in the patient’s abdomen, then the blood vessels and organs are moved aside to access the spine.
The damaged disc is then removed by the surgeon before putting in the artificial disc. The blood vessels and organs are placed back before closing the incision.
The patient is then taken to the recovery area to be closely monitored until fully awake. The IV line is retained, and a catheter is inserted in the patient’s bladder for easier urination. The patient is taken to the hospital room once awake and fully alert.
Artificial disc replacement recovery time usually takes up to 3 days after the surgery. The duration will depend on the patient’s return to function and how controlled the pain is.
Patients are often encouraged to stand up and walk around one day after the surgery. Unlike spinal fusion surgery, bone healing is not required in artificial disc replacement, so moving through the mid-section is typically encouraged. Early movement after surgery also speeds up the recovery and rehabilitation process.
A few weeks after the surgery, the patient will be asked to perform basic exercises such as stretching and walking while avoiding activities that may cause back hyperextension to ensure a high artificial disc replacement success rate.
Give Us a Call
Are you experiencing pain caused by degenerated spinal discs? Have you tried all non-surgical options, and the pain has remained or even intensified? It might be time for a disc replacement surgery. The Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery of Texas is here to help you. Contact us at (972) 244-3491 if you need an artificial disc replacement in Dallas TX.