What is artificial disc replacement?
Artificial disc replacement (ADR) is an innovative procedure for patients who suffer from disabling pain caused by disc degeneration or herniated discs in the low back or neck. The procedure provides pain relief while preserving motion. As spinal structures degenerate, they may cause pain, limiting function and decreasing quality of life. Total disc replacement (TDR, also called artificial disc) surgery is one of the latest advancements in spine surgery. Replacing the disc removes the cause of pain while preserving natural motion. This surgery is recommended only after extensive conservative therapies have failed to significantly provide pain relief.
Who qualifies for artificial disc replacement?
For the neck, you might qualify for an artificial disc replacement after suffering a herniated disc which has affected the nerve. For the lower back, you might qualify if you’ve been told you need a fusion due to severe pain which hasn’t responded to other treatments or as a result of recurrent pain from a previous disc surgery.
How long do the benefits from artificial disc replacement last?
Disc replacement has been studied in laboratory settings for almost 40 years. At Texas Back Institute, we now have a 13-year track record for lumbar disc procedures and about eight years for cervical disc procedures. We have performed very few revision procedures on our own patients and most patients recover much better after an artificial disc replacement when compared to a fusion.
“Replacing the disc removes the cause of pain while preserving natural motion.”
What is the recovery time from an artificial disc replacement procedure?
In most cases ADR is considered an outpatient procedure. Patients are typically up and walking hours after surgery and their hospital stay can be less than 24 hours. Patients usually require about six weeks to fully recover and resume normal activities without pain or discomfort. Patients will know they are on the mend when they finally experience relief from the pain they felt prior to the surgery.
If I am told I might need an artificial disc replacement or some other type of spine surgery, what should I do?
The first step to take is to see a reputable, board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeon who has proven results. You will most likely experience better results by choosing a surgeon who is affiliated with a team of qualified medical physicians, internists, physiatrists, pain specialists, exercise physiologists, and physical therapists who work together to get patients back to their routines. Seek the advice of a spine surgeon if back pain is getting worse over time, doesn’t feel better with rest and over-the-counter remedies, and/or involves neurological symptoms. Artificial disc replacement candidates typically suffer from back or neck pain caused by an accident that increases in intensity, continues more than four weeks, and causes weakness or numbness in extremities, among other related issues.
Texas Back Institute is a global leader and pioneer in spine care, having performed more than 1,400 artificial disc replacement procedures with 14 different types of ADR devices, beginning in 2000 with the first-ever performed in the United States. Led by the world-renowned spine surgeons at the Center for Disc Replacement, surgeons perform this motion-preserving, life-changing procedure on patients from around the globe each year. The Texas Back Institute medical team comprises board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons, medical physicians, internists, physiatrists, pain specialists, exercise physiologists, and physical therapists. Texas Back Institute is one of the largest freestanding multidisciplinary academic spine centers in the world. Utilizing the latest technological advancements and medical breakthroughs, leading and participating in numerous FDA trials, developing surgeons through its fellowship program, and employing an expert medical team and compassionate support staff, Texas Back Institute remains dedicated to helping patients get back to life.