Is Artificial Disc Replacement Your Back Pain Cure?

Health & Medical Blog

Herniated discs in your spinal cord can cause a wide range of back pain problems that can be incredibly debilitating. Thankfully, there are several surgeries, including artificial disc replacement, that can help. If you are interested in this surgery, this is what you need to know before you make a choice.

The Procedure

The process of artificial disc replacement requires inserting an artificial cervical disc between two of your damaged neck vertebrae to create a better support system. They are designed to replace broken or herniated discs and help maintain proper neck motion and position. Further degeneration is usually stopped by this procedure, too. Generally, it is performed as a gentler alternative to fusion surgery.

Dangers And Benefits

Studies have confirmed that there are multiple benefits of this surgery and a few risks. Some of the tested benefits included:

  • Quicker return to work than those who had spinal fusion
  • Little to no artificial disc breaking
  • Fewer corrective surgeries
  • Modification of disc almost unnecessary

These benefits are balanced by a few risks, such as neck pain, infections, moving implants, allergic reactions, and even numbness. In severe cases, death may be possible if other complications (such as infections) are noted.

Full Recovery Time

Recovering from an artificial disc replacement surgery requires a variety of different techniques. First of all, many patients are put in a soft collar for two weeks to help protect their neck from strain. Many patients will be driving their car again within a week and back at work anywhere from two to six weeks after that.

Physical therapy may be necessary after your healing period to help restore some strength to your weakened muscles. Generally, these exercises are gentle and and only moderately and gradually increased in intensity during the several week treatment period.

The Cost

When it comes to cost, artificial disc replacement is actually relatively inexpensive. The average price of a disc replacement is about $3,000. This is about $5,000 less than spinal fusion, the other procedure that is commonly utilized to treat herniated discs.

However, the effective length of the surgery also impacts its cost: if the artificial disc must be repaired before 14 years have passed, than it was not cost effective when compared to spinal fusion. Though 20 years is the project effectiveness of an artificial disc, that time will vary by case.

When it comes right down to it, only you and your doctor can make the best decision about artificial disc replacement. For many people, the lower initial installation price makes it the superior option. However, your neck may benefit more fully from spinal fusion.

To learn more about neck pain, contact a company like Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates


31 December 2015

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