When it comes to treating back pain, health care providers generally try to use conservative methods like physical therapy or medication. However, these treatment methods are not always effective, which means surgery may be the right treatment option.
Orthopedic surgeons have several surgical options for treating back pain depending on the cause of the pain. One frequently performed type of spinal surgery that helps reduce pain and improve the range of motion in many people is total disc replacement.
What is total disc replacement surgery?
Total disc replacement, also known as artificial disc replacement, aims to remove a damaged disc from your spine and replace it with an artificial one. The discs in your spine are supposed to cushion your vertebrae from impact and friction. When one or more of the discs is damaged or worn down, they may need to be replaced.
When do you need total disc replacement?
A few different conditions can affect the discs in your spine. You may need a total disc replacement to treat:
- Herniated discs — A disc is considered to be herniated when its fluid bursts through the outer shell. This fluid puts pressure on the nerves in the spine that can be painful and limit your range of motion.
- Degenerative disc disease (DDD) — Over time, the fluid in the discs wears down and the shells grow stiffer. This occurs naturally as you age and can develop earlier on in life due to injuries, obesity, and spinal injuries. Generally, DDD affects multiple discs in the spine, but if there are only a few that are damaged, your surgeon may consider total disc replacement.
- Traumatic injuries — A direct impact to the spine can cause damage to one or multiple discs. Sometimes the discs can heal with conservative treatments like physical therapy or chiropractic care. However, if the injury is severe enough, total disc replacement surgery may be necessary.
If you have one of these conditions or another similar to them, your health care provider may recommend total disc replacement. Some of the factors your health care provider will consider before recommending this procedure include:
- You are at or close to a healthy weight.
- You have never had prior spinal surgery.
- You do not have joint disease.
- You do not have nerve damage.
- Only one or two discs in the spine are damaged.
- You do not have a spinal deformity.
Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for total disc replacement surgery
Our orthopedic surgeons at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute are skilled in performing several spinal operations, including total disc replacement. Our team can examine the condition of your spine and determine if this procedure is right for you. Contact our team today to learn more about total disc replacement surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.