What is Disc Replacement Surgery? Disc replacement surgery is a surgical procedure in which a degenerative disc that causes chronic back pain is replaced by a metal or plastic intervertebral disc. This surgery is done if non-surgical treatments used for at least six months have failed. The disc replacement restores movements in the specific part of the vertebral column, which enables a painless motion of the higher segment of the vertebral column.
The Artificial Disc An artificial disc is used to replace the diseased disc. It is made up of a sliding core that is flanked by two metal endplates. These endplates are derived from medical grade cobalt chromium alloy. The sliding core is derived from a medical grade plastic.
How is the Disc Replacement Surgery Performed? An incision is made in the patient's abdomen. The abdominal organs are carefully put on one side of the abdomen so that the front portion of the spine is visible. A large section from the center of the degenerated disc is removed. Then, the surgeon spreads the spine bones to create space. A surgical microscope is used to remove any material of the diseased disc. After this, the disc space is brought back to its normal space and the artificial disc is inserted into the disc space by using a fluoroscope. The fluoroscope enables the surgeon to view an x-ray image of the replacement while the procedure is going on. Since the surgeon views the implant as and when it is inserted by using a fluoroscope, the surgical procedure is more accurate and much safer. In due course, the bones grow around the metal disc and become stable and strong.
How to Prepare for the Surgery? The patient needs to undergo a physical checkup. An anesthesiologist will evaluate the patient. Certain medication that the patient is taking may be stopped 10 days prior to the surgery. The patient should inform the doctor about any ailments or medical conditions. Smoking should be stopped at least a couple of weeks before the surgery to ensure quick healing and a successful result.
The patient may need to donate blood incase the patient requires a blood transfusion during or after the surgery.
How much time is required? The procedure requires only 1-2 hours and the hospital stay is for about 3-4 days.
What type of anesthesia will be given? General Anesthesia
How will patient recover? - The patient will be able to get up and walk on the same day of the surgery. - Pain medication will be provided and physical therapy will start when the patient is still in the hospital. - The patient may be able to return to work in 2 to 4 weeks. However, if the patient's job involves rigorous activity and lifting heavy items, the recovery will take longer. - The patient may fully recover in 6 weeks and can resume recreational activities in three months after the surgery.
What should be cared? - The patient should visit the surgeon on scheduled follow-up appointments. - X-rays will be taken from time to time to determine the healing progress. - The patient should not lift heavy objects. - The patient should walk on a daily basis for at least 30 minutes. - Physical therapy sessions may continue on an outpatient basis. - After the patient is better and feels comfortable exercising, the physical therapy sessions will stop, and the exercises can be continued at home.