Only after the spine physicians at Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) have exhausted every tool and technique for combating lower back pain do they turn to total disc replacement surgery. This surgery is a last resort option that replaces damaged or worn discs in the lumbar portion of your spine or lower back.
First approved by the FDA in 2004, total disc replacement surgery has been shown to be successful at relieving back pain when other treatments have failed to bring relief. If you aren’t experiencing pain relief after chiropractic care, physical therapy, medications, injections, and other methods implemented by your spine specialist, you may be a candidate for surgery.
Different Causes of Severe Back Pain
A normal, healthy spine is a flexible part of your body that supports much of your weight. Because it has many moving parts, however, any injury to one portion can cause a domino effect, leading to damage or wear on another area. Damage to your discs can be caused by a number of incidents and conditions, including:
- Fracture to your vertebra
- Obesity — in which case, you may have to lose weight to be eligible for this surgery
- Spinal tumor
- Slipped disc
- Injury to your vertebra
- General degeneration of a disc — which may be caused by dysfunction in other areas of your spine
- More than one disc is damaged
Back pain affects 80 percent of all Americans. And while this type of pain is a common condition, surgery isn’t the go-to remedy at SSI. Exercises and other methods can help strengthen your natural spine without invasive surgery. Non-surgical treatments also offer low-risk pain relief; any kind of surgery carries risks.
What to Expect with Total Disc Replacement Surgery
In this surgery, an artificial disc made of soft cushioning material is inserted in the place of your natural disc, which is made up of cartilage and tissue. After your damaged tissue is removed, your surgeon approaches the spine from your belly button and inserts a metal and plastic medical-grade disc replacement.
This surgery is considered major due to the proximity of major blood vessels and nerves. Disc replacement surgery is done in a hospital with a two-to-four-day stay for observation. As with other surgeries, there is a risk of infection. Your short hospital stay involves watching for signs of infection as well as ensuring that you’re mobile before you leave.
Why Disc Replacement Surgery Is a Last Resort
With a high success rate, many people suffering from chronic back pain wonder why such a life-changing surgery isn’t the first line of defense. The fact of the matter is that spine surgery of any kind has serious risks. Some of the risks of this surgery include:
- Infection around your disc
- Implant failure
- The implant becoming dislodged or dislocated
- Spine narrowing
- Stiffening of your spine
- Pain associated with a poorly placed implant
Your backbone got its reputation as the source of your strength for a reason — it’s vital to overall movement and health. Take care of your spine from the beginning with regular appointments at your spine physician to maintain a fulfilling life of movement and ease.