Guide to Advanced Surgery for The Spine
If your doctor decides that you are a candidate for lumbar artificial disc replacement you’ll receive the superior medical care you deserve from every member of our spine services team. From world class spine surgeons to physical therapists, everyone will make sure your rehabilitation and recovery are smooth.
Lumbar artificial disk replacement surgery involves replacing a worn/degenerated disc in the lower part spine with an artificial replacement made of medical-grade metal or a combination of medical-grade metal and medical-grade plastic.
Although it is a relatively new procedure and has gained FDA approval in 2004, lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery is seen as an alternative to the more common spinal fusion surgery.
Lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery is major surgery. It requires general anesthesia and a 2-day to 4-day hospital stay. The following steps are taken in order to perform the surgery:
- you will check into the hospital and change into a medical gown
- you will be brought to a surgical suite and placed under general anesthesia
- a vascular surgeon and an orthopedic/neurosurgeon will perform the surgery together
- an incision will be made in your abdomen and all organs and blood vessels will be moved to the side to allow access to the spine
- the damaged disc(s) will be removed and the new artificial disc(s) will be put in place
- the incision will be closed and you will be wheeled into a recovery suite for close monitoring
A number of tests will be performed by your doctor to determine if lumbar artificial disc replacement is the right procedure for you.
Not all patients who experience back pain are a candidate for lumbar artificial disc replacement.
The surgeon will also look at other factors when determining if you need a lumbar disc replacement surgery, a lumbar fusion surgery or another course of action for your spine problem.
Lumbar disc replacement surgery is usually recommended for patients who:
- have not had previous spinal surgery
- do not have scoliosis or any other spinal deformity
- are not significantly overweight
- have no significant joint disease or compression on the nerves
- have the source of their back pain coming from only one or two discs in the spine
Like all surgeries, lumbar artificial disc replacement poses some risks, which are increased due to the fact that this is a highly invasive surgery. It requires greater access to the spine than standard lumbar fusion surgery, which makes it riskier. Some of the potential risks of this surgery include:
- infection of the artificial disk or the area surrounding the artificial disk
- dislocation or dislodgement of the artificial disk
- implant failure or fracture
- implant loosening or wear
- narrowing of the spine (stenosis) because of the breakdown of spinal bones
- problems associated with a poorly positioned implant
- stiffness or rigidity of the spine