Patients who are experiencing back pain due to disk pathology, including disc herniation or degenerative disc disease are a candidate for an artificial disc. The key to this procedure is confirming that the joints in the back of the spine are not part of the problem. A total disc replacement will remove the disk and therefore the source of the pain and will replace it with a fully functioning movable device which maintains range of motion and activity. I’ve seen countless patients who had almost given up, return to an active life after total disc replacement surgery.
Artificial Spinal Disc Surgery
Artificial disc surgery, also known as total disc replacement surgery, is a spinal procedure in which a disc is completely removed and replaced by an artificial disc, typically made of titanium, cobalt, and plastic polymer. The procedure includes the following steps:
- The patient is placed under general anesthesia and positioned facing up.
- If in the lumbar spine, a general surgeon then creates a small incision and works their way through the belly, gently moving the intestines aside to expose the spine. In the neck, a small incision just off midline allows direct access to the spine with little movement of surrounding soft tissue.
- An x-ray is used to confirm the proper location on the spine.
- Once the disc is exposed, it is removed in its entirety and the nerves directly behind the disk are decompressed.
- An artificial disc device is then sized to fit according to the patient’s anatomy.
- Once the total disc replacement has been completed x-rays are used to confirm positioning and the instruments are removed, the skin closed.
Disc replacement surgery is an alternative to spinal fusion surgery that allows a patient to maintain mobility and movement in the spine. Disc replacements can also be performed at a single level, or multiple levels – depending on the patient’s condition.
Total Disc Replacement Surgery in Minnesota
For patients with disc mediated pain, total disc replacement surgery can be life-changing. An artificial disc can get rid of your back pain and allow you to move freely. Living your life in pain just isn’t worth it. Minnesota Disc Replacement and Spine Restoration has developed an efficient technique specializing in total disc replacements utilizing three companies: LDR, Aesculap, and Depuy Synthes. Dr. Miller was one of the first surgeons to do a two level artificial disc replacement in Minnesota. Call today to discuss your options.