Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery – A Comprehensive Guide on what to Expect, and its Benefits
Your spine is composed of a series of bones, or vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. Discs sit between these vertebrae and work like cushions to allow spinal movement without the vertebrae rubbing against each other. A lumbar disc replacement involves removing an injured or degenerative disc from the lumbar spine, or lower back, and replacing it with an artificial disc which can be made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic materials.
Why is Lumbar Disc Replacement Needed?
The main purpose of a lumbar disc replacement surgery is to provide lower back pain and other symptom relief. While not everyone with lower back pain is a good candidate for this procedure, it might be recommended by your doctor for the following reasons:
- Pain persists from 1 or 2 discs in the lower spine
- Severe symptoms prevent you from participating in normal day-to-day activities
- Symptoms do not improve with non-surgical forms of treatment
- Disc height needs to be restored
How to Prepare for Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery
If you’ve tried non-surgical methods to treat your lower back pain to no avail and symptoms are making it challenging to complete your day-to-day activities, then lumbar disc replacement surgery may be the right option for you. Here’s a closer look at what you can expect from this procedure:
- Before the Procedure: Diagnostic testing such as physical exams, x-rays and blood tests may be performed to help your doctor determine your condition. As part of your surgery preparation, you may be asked to stop smoking if you are a smoker and you will have to tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking, including vitamins and supplements. Avoid eating and drinking several hours prior to surgery and arrange for a ride to and from the hospital.
- During the Procedure: The surgery is performed under general anesthesia which is delivered through an IV. A surgeon will make a small incision in your abdomen where internal organs and blood vessels are carefully moved aside to gain access to the spine. The affected disc will be removed and an artificial disc will take its place. Everything is put back in its place and the incision is closed with stitches and covered with a protective dressing.
- After the Procedure: You may have to remain in the hospital for a few days following the surgery. However, you can expect a faster recovery since a lumbar disc replacement does not require the bone to heal. You will get pain medication if you need it and be encouraged to perform gentle movements a few days after the procedure. While you should start walking and stretching as your recovery progresses, avoid any strenuous motions or activities and expect your recovery to take a few weeks to months before full function is restored.
The Benefits of Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery
A lumbar disc replacement surgery is an effective procedure to treat your lower back pain. In addition to this, the treatment may offer several benefits, some of which include the following:
- Significantly improves lower back pain in as little as a few weeks to months
- Allows or restores motion to the affected disc without transferring stress to another area of the spine
- Maintains spinal integrity by restoring the normal distance between two vertebrae
- Relieves pressure on the facet joints and spinal nerves
- Requires shorter hospital stays and has a faster recovery time
If you experience lower back pain, Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic has the right solution for you. Specializing in artificial disc replacement and other spinal procedures, Dr. Lewis can help you learn more about your treatment options and design a customized program that meets your specific needs. He is trained to perform a variety of spinal treatment techniques and has developed specialized equipment for many of these procedures. He has taught surgeons across the country, training them for technical surgical courses. He is the only neurosurgeon or spine surgeon performing lumbar disc replacement surgery.
Contact us today to learn more about lumbar artificial disc replacement or to schedule a consultation. We’ll find a solution that works for you. Call us at (601) 366-1011.