When patients suffer from disc herniation, degenerative disc disease or other chronic back pain that isn’t alleviated by non-surgical treatments, artificial disc replacement may be an option. At one point, spinal fusion was the best operation to reverse these types of pain – spinal fusion includes screws, plates and other instruments. Artificial discs are simpler and result in less loss of mobility and flexibility in the treated vertebral area.
What is an artificial disc? It’s a prosthesis used to take the place of a damaged, or partially damaged, disc – the cushioning between our vertebrae. The intervertebral area where the damaged disc is located is removed, and the artificial disc is inserted. Unlike spinal fusion, artificial discs are designed to preserve as much mobility and flexibility as possible. Flexion, rotation, extension, curvature, as well as height, are all designed to mimic that of a natural disc.
Artificial disc replacement is intended to keep the natural structure of the spine in place while eliminating disc damage and pain. Once the discectomy, or removal of the disc has taken place, the artificial disc will help maintain stability and proper functioning.
Artificial discs are created to replace both lumbar discs (those in the back) and cervical discs (cervical discs are located in the neck). As with any spine surgery, there a risks and benefits that our specialists at Atlanta Spine Surgery will review if artificial disc replacement is a viable treatment option for you.