Anyone suffering from back pain will understand just how much of a problem it can be. Back pain can affect every part of your life and stop you from doing things that you enjoy. If you have been diagnosed with a slipped disc then you may have been considering an artificial disc replacement. But you will need to know what this is and how artificial disc replacement works.
What is Artificial Disc Replacement?
Artificial disc replacement is a surgical procedure where damaged discs in the spinal cord are removed and then replaced with artificial replacements. The old worn-out discs are removed from the back with care. The discs are made from specially designed materials that should last for many years without needing further replacement.
How Long Does Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery Take?
Artificial disc replacement surgery is not a new procedure, it’s a very safe and quick procedure to undergo. Most artificial disc replacement surgeries take approximately 3 hours for an experienced surgeon to complete. The surgeon will access the spinal discs through your abdomen to minimize any damage to nerves around the spine. It’s important that only experienced surgeons perform this procedure since they will be dealing with nerves.
What are the Risks of Artificial Disc Replacement?
The surgery for artificial disc replacement is generally very safe, the techniques have been perfected over the last 15 years. However, as with any type of surgery, there are certain risks. The risks and side effects that you may experience include:
- blood clots
- nerve damage
Generally, the chance of any of these risks is very low, and the benefits will far outweigh the risks. If you do notice any side effects or unwanted symptoms shortly after your disc replacement surgery then you should mention this to your surgeon. There may be other procedures that can be performed to relieve these symptoms.
Artificial Disc Replacement vs. Spinal Fusion
You may be asking what procedure is right for me, artificial disc replacement vs spinal fusion? Spinal fusion is the traditional form of treating a damaged disc in the spine. Spinal fusion is where the movement of discs is restricted to prevent pain. Generally, the results of artificial disc replacement are just as effective as spinal fusion. By replacing the discs individually rather than fusing them together you also have the added benefit of improved mobility.
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