Understanding Artificial Disc Replacement: An Alternative To Spinal Fusion Surgery

You may have heard of spinal fusion surgery if you suffer from chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease. While spinal fusion can be an effective treatment option, it does have its drawbacks, such as reduced mobility and a longer recovery time. Fortunately, there is an alternative: artificial disc replacement (ADR). Understanding ADR, what it is, and the benefits it provides can help you determine if it is the right surgical procedure for you.

What is ADR? 

Artificial disc replacement is a procedure that replaces a damaged or degenerated spinal disc with an artificial one. This is done to maintain the normal motion of the spine while also reducing pain caused by the degeneration. The artificial disc is made up of metal or plastic and is designed to mimic the function of a natural disc. The goal of ADR is to preserve the natural movement of the spine rather than fusing two vertebrae together, as is done in spinal fusion surgery.

How Does ADR Work?

During the procedure, a surgeon will remove the damaged or degenerated disc and replace it with an artificial one. The new disc typically comprises two metal endplates and a plastic core, which allows for flexibility and mobility similar to a natural disc. The surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia and can take several hours, depending on how many discs are replaced.

Benefits of ADR

The main benefit of ADR is that it preserves the natural motion of the spine. This can help reduce the risk of developing adjacent-level disease. This condition can occur after spinal fusion surgery, where the adjacent discs degenerate more quickly due to the increased stress placed on them. ADR also has a shorter recovery time than spinal fusion surgery, as patients can typically return to normal activities within a few weeks, compared to several months for spinal fusion.

Another benefit of ADR is that it may be an option for patients who have already had spinal fusion surgery and are experiencing pain in adjacent spine levels. ADR can help preserve mobility and reduce pain without additional spinal fusion surgery in these cases.

Is ADR Right for You?

If you are experiencing chronic back pain due to degenerative disc disease, ADR may be an option. However, not all patients are good candidates for ADR. Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and perform a physical exam to determine if ADR is the right option.

Artificial disc replacement is a safe and effective alternative to spinal fusion surgery for patients with degenerative disc disease. It preserves the natural motion of the spine, reduces the risk of adjacent level disease, and has a shorter recovery time. If you are considering ADR, discuss the procedure with your doctor to determine if it is right for you.

For more info, contact a company like The Anand Spine Group.