Artificial disc replacement (ADR) is a relatively new form of spinal disc treatment that employs an anterior (front – via the abdomen area) technique to replace a painful, arthritic, worn-out lumbar intervertebral disc with a metal and plastic prosthesis (artificial disc). In the United States, artificial disc replacement is the only FDA-approved procedure that is also placed in the lumbar (low back) area, it’s primarily a Cervical Spine procedure.
During the surgery, the worn or damaged disc between the tiny bones of the spine (vertebrae) is removed and replaced with a prosthetic or artificial disc. The procedure aims to reduce back discomfort while allowing for more flexible motion than other surgeries, such as spinal fusion (which aims to prevent movement).
You can opt for artificial disc replacement surgery if:
You have a back discomfort caused by one or two troublesome (arthritic) lumbar intervertebral discs
There is no evidence of substantial facet joint disease or bone compression of spinal nerves
You have an average body weight
There is no spinal deformity (scoliosis)
There is no osteoporosis (weak bone)
There is no previous significant lumbar spine surgery
You are under 45 years old (or have strong Bone Density)
Physical rehabilitation is essential in the weeks preceding your Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR) to ensure a successful surgery. ADR repair surgery is typically scheduled six weeks after the first injury. The state of the injured knee is the most important consideration in selecting the time for your surgery.
You must treat the injury to decrease discomfort and swelling and restore the full range of motion. This necessitates typically extensive physical treatment.
You may have to quit smoking and alcohol a few weeks before surgery as tobacco usage, particularly, is linked to slower post-surgery healing.
For this surgery, you will be put under general anesthesia. The majority of artificial disc replacement procedures last between 2 to 3 hours. The surgical team will operate on your lower back from the front through an incision in your belly. This method relocates the organs and blood vessels to the side, enabling your surgeon to access your spine without disturbing the nerves. A vascular surgeon typically aids the orthopedic surgeon in opening and exposing the disc space. During the Artificial disc replacement, your surgeon will remove the faulty disc and replace it with an artificial disc implant.
In most circumstances, you will be hospitalized for 1 to 2 days following artificial disc replacement. The length of your stay will determine how effectively your pain is controlled and your ability to return to work.
Most patients are advised to stand and walk the first day following surgery. Because bone fusion is unnecessary after Artificial Disc Replacement, most patients are advised to walk through the midsection. Early trunk mobility may result in faster rehabilitation and recovery. Excessive motion, on the other hand, should be avoided since your bone must repair the prosthetic disc. Your doctor will discuss your restrictions with you.
During the initial weeks after surgery, you will be asked to practice simple workouts such as regular walking and stretching.
You may return to light job activities as soon as 2-3 weeks following surgery, depending on how quickly the postoperative discomfort subsides. If the postoperative pain has reduced and the back strength has been restored sufficiently with physical therapy, patients may return to moderate-level jobs and leisure activities as early as three months after surgery. Patients with disc replacement surgery may resume light lifting and sporting activities if the postoperative discomfort has faded and their back strength has been restored with physical therapy. People with artificial disc replacement should avoid heavy lifting, demanding employment, and high-impact sports.
If done correctly, artificial disc replacement may considerably reduce pain and discomfort helping you return to an active lifestyle.
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