Artificial disc replacement surgery has been available to United States citizens only from the beginning of the 21st century. This surgery is a procedure in which the degenerated or injured spinal discs are removed and replaced by artificial devices that function as part of the spinal column. More than half of working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year, so if you are experiencing any back pain, it may be time to look into artificial disc surgery.
Artificial disc replacement was developed as a replacement procedure for spinal fusions, which could take weeks to heal properly and require a neck brace. Artificial disc surgery, like other spine surgery, helps correct and reduce pain and discomfort associated with various spinal diseases, disorders, and accidents.
Some of the benefits of artificial disc replacement surgery include an increased range of motion (an average of 10%!), the less likelihood of an implant failure or going in for additional surgery, no metal screws and neck brace, and only a few days of recovery time- as opposed to months. In fact, most artificial disc replacement patients are encouraged to stand and walk around the day after their surgery.
The procedure itself is minimally invasive and relatively short- around 90 minutes. During the cervical spine surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged bone, tissue, and/or nerve and replaces it with a sturdy plastic or cadaveric bone. The bone segments that reside above and below the damaged area are then reinforced with a metal piece to ensure proper healing.
To qualify for artificial disc replacement surgery, there are a few requirements you must meet. An estimated 65 million Americans suffer from spinal pain in the U.S., and a majority of those sufferers are overweight or obese. Those who are overweight should start out by maintaining a healthy diet and weight; this will prepare you for being the perfect candidate for the operation.
According to the ACA, back and neck pain is the second most common cause for missed work days in the U.S.- that adds up to a large portion of lost productivity and profit. So if you experience any back pain that persists for more than a few weeks, it may be best to do your research and see if artificial disc replacement surgery is best for you.