Disc replacement surgery is a viable option for treating chronic back pain, and it can be incredibly effective. Denver-based orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Stephen Pehler, who is board-certified and fellowship-trained, is a strong advocate for disc replacement over fusion surgery for many reasons. Here is why Dr. Pehler maintains that patients should consider disc replacement surgery, a procedure that could potentially help them find lasting relief from their chronic back pain.
How Does Disc Replacement Surgery Work?
Disc replacement surgery is a highly advanced procedure that replaces a damaged cervical disc or lumbar disc with an artificial one. The procedure involves the removal of the degenerative disc, and then the insertion an artificial disc to serve as a permanent replacement. This allows for more flexibility and range of motion while still providing pain relief.
How Does Disc Replacement Differ from Spinal Fusion?
Disc replacement surgery is an excellent surgical alternative to spinal fusion, and it often has more favorable outcomes for patients. Spinal fusion surgery makes use of metal rods, plates, and screws to fuse two or more vertebrae together, stopping the painful motion between them. While this may eliminate pain, fusion surgery can restrict mobility of the spine. Disc replacement surgery, on the other hand, maintains natural movement as the artificial disc takes on the role of a healthy natural disc. Disc replacement is also a much faster procedure with a shorter recovery timeline.
What is the Success Rate of Disc Replacement Surgery?
Disc replacement surgery has been around since the 1990s, and its success rate is very high. Studies have shown that disc replacement surgery can dramatically decrease pain in patients suffering from back and neck pain due to worn out or damaged discs in the spine. The relief of symptoms, such as pain and numbness, is often almost immediate and can be significant. Disc replacement surgery may even reduce pain more effectively than traditional spinal fusion surgeries, as it preserves spinal motion for patients who undergo the procedure. Many patients enjoy a remarkably improved quality of life after disc replacement surgery.
As for long-term effects, disc replacement surgery can often delay or even eliminate the need for more aggressive spinal treatments in the future. In some cases, it may help patients avoid being permanently confined to a wheelchair or bed due to their condition. It can also slow or prevent adjacent disc disease, which is a common side effect of spinal fusion surgeries.
Ultimately, if you are a candidate for spine surgery, disc replacement is a viable option that could provide you with improved mobility and comfort without the need for more intensive treatments down the road.
Dr. Stephen Pehler is an experienced orthopedic spine surgeon who offers disc replacement surgery for qualifying candidates here at his Denver-based orthopedic practice. Call 303-695-6060 or contact us online to book your appointment with Dr. Pehler today.