Spinal discs are the soft, cushioning material located between each vertebra along the spine that serves as shock absorber for the bones. Spinal discs also enable us to flex, bend, and twist. As a person age, these discs degenerate and break down which leads to fluid loss within the discs or tears to form, from which the jelly-like interior can seep out.
People who sees no improvement from non-surgical treatment such as medication, injections, chiropractic therapy, and physical therapy are most likely to be advised to undergo artificial disc replacement surgery or spinal fusion. Spine surgeons will use an MRI to determine the amount of degeneration, while discography will be done to pinpoint exact location of the problem. Discography entails injecting dye into the discs and taking x-rays and a CT scan to examine which discs are related to your pain.
Spinal fusion was the most common procedure used to eliminate pain from degenerative disc disease before. In fusion surgeries, the disc is removed and replaced by bone and the vertebrae are fused together, eliminating movement, and significantly reducing pain in the area. Artificial disc replacement, however, allows for the normal, or close to normal, movement of the spine. Recovery from artificial disc replacement is generally much faster than with spinal fusion. There are certain medical conditions that prevent a patient from being a good candidate for disc replacement surgery. People suffering from spondylolithesis, osteoporosis, fractures of the vertebrae, a spinal tumor, spinal infection, or allergies to the artificial materials, and those who are pregnant or morbidly obese are not encouraged to undergo disc replacement surgery.
Don’t hesitate to contact Spine Center of Texas to know more about disc replacement surgery and if it is the right option for you.