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What is Disc Arthroplasty?

Disc ArthroplastyOne of the most common complaints of patients is back pain. In most cases it is temporary and healing is quick. However, there are times when it interferes with an individual’s daily life to the point that it disrupts routine activities including those which are work related or recreational. In some cases, spine surgery is the only option for relieving the pain. In many cases severe and consistent pain in the back is caused by degenerated discs. Traditionally, lumbar fusion or cervical fusion were the only options. These surgical methods helped to a degree but also had some negative end results. Disc Arthroplasty can now be used to relieve a patient’s pain while also restoring their movement to a near-normal state.

What is a disc arthroplasty?

A degenerated disc is usually very painful and can cause some loss of mobility. In some cases a total disc arthroplasty is advised. It is a surgical procedure in which a degenerated disc is removed and then replaced by an artificial disc that has the ability to mimic the movements made by a normal disc. This will usually relieve the pain and discomfort while also restoring mobility in the region.

What are the advantages of a disc arthroplasty?

The disc Arthroplasty is a modern treatment option made available to many patients who need spinal surgery in Livingston, NJ. There are a select number of medical facilities that even offer this type of disc replacement surgery. Prior to disc Arthroplasty, the surgical options for those suffering from severe neck or back pain was cervical fusion or lumbar fusion. These procedures are both effective at alleviating the pain, but they have their disadvantages. Spinal fusion can end pain by eliminating the spinal motions that are causing the pain but the patient will likely lose some amount of mobility. Spinal fusion has also been known to cause an imbalance in the spine. This is due to the load or pressure being transferred from one joint to another. This can potentially lead to some deterioration and the patient can end up with serious back problems later on down the road. The disc Arthroplasty will work to restore lost motion. Since it does not put additional pressure on the joints which are adjacent, there is less likelihood of deterioration later on.

Who is a candidate for disc arthroplasty?

Just because an individual suffers from lower back pain or neck pain is not an indication that they are a prime candidate for disc arthroplasty. Before determining whether or not a patient is a candidate for the procedure, surgeons will carefully evaluate the individual to determine if they would benefit from the procedure. Surgeons will also examine CT scans and MRIs. In most cases, the selection criteria includes things such as:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 65
  • Have good bone quality
  • Experience symptoms that are severe enough to disrupt daily life
  • Have an MRI that shows some disc degeneration

Desired Outcome of Disc Arthroplasty

As a general rule, patients who undergo a disc arthroplasty should experience certain benefits. They should experience much less pain; and any pain they endure should be minimal rather than severe. They should also have pain less frequently. Most patients who undergo the procedure should have fewer physical limitations and increased mobility. They should also feel like they can participate in the daily activities more easily.

Three Different Disc Arthroplasty Methods

There are basically three different operation methods considered for the patient who is a candidate for a disc arthroplasty: decompression, fusion and disc replacement methods. The decompression method will clear the disc out so that there is restored movement. Fusion procedures are used when the disc space has been obliterated it is sometimes used along with decompression procedures. A total disc arthroplasty will restore and retain the normal movement and will help to alleviate any further bone degeneration. The type of procedure that the spinal surgeon chooses will depend on each individual case and its severity. The spinal surgeon and patient should discuss the possible treatment options and the desired outcomes. The goals are to alleviate pain and restore mobility while reducing the risk of degeneration further down the road.




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