An artificial disc replacement effectively relieves back and neck pain caused by a damaged disc while preserving your normal spinal movement. The board-certified surgeons at Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group carefully evaluate the cause of your neck pain and your treatment history to determine if you’re a good candidate for an artificial disc replacement. To learn more about this innovative procedure, call the office in Fresno, California, or book an appointment online.
An artificial disc replacement is a surgical procedure to remove a damaged spinal disc and put an artificial disc in its place. Using an artificial disc is an innovative alternative to spinal fusion.
An artificial disc and spinal fusion both relieve your back or neck pain and stabilize your spine. An artificial disc replacement, however, also preserves your normal spine movement. By comparison, a spinal fusion prevents movement between the fused vertebrae.
Artificial discs are typically made using two metal end plates with a piece of medical-grade plastic between them. With today’s advanced technology, artificial discs are mechanically designed to mimic the function of your natural disc.
An artificial disc replacement may be the best treatment option when you have back or neck pain caused by a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease:
Herniated discs develop when the gel-like center of the disc pushes out through a weak or damaged area in the disc’s outer cover. In some cases, the cover tears, allowing the gel to leak out of the disc. In both instances, the shock-absorbing power of the disc is gone, the spine loses movement and stability, and you experience pain.
As you get older, discs gradually dehydrate, flatten, and lose their ability to function. As a result, you develop the same spinal problems and pain caused by a herniated disc.
In most cases, artificial disc replacement is a minimally invasive procedure. Your surgeon performs minimally invasive surgery by making a small incision and inserting a tubular retractor.
The retractor gradually and gently separates the muscle fibers, creating an opening without cutting the muscle. Then your surgeon uses specialized instruments that are narrow enough to fit through the opening.
Minimally invasive procedures cause less trauma, reduce the amount of bleeding, and allow you to recover faster. In fact, these procedures are often done as outpatient spine surgery, so you go home the same day.
During your artificial disc replacement, your surgeon at Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group first removes the damaged disc. They may also perform other procedures to deal with spinal problems such as bone spurs and thickened ligaments.
For the next step, your surgeon implants the artificial disc. Then they remove the retractor, ensure the muscles and soft tissues return to their normal position, and close the incision.
To learn if you’re a good candidate for an artificial disc replacement, call Neurosurgical Associates Medical Group or schedule an appointment online.