Sometimes damage to the discs between your vertebrae is too severe or chronically painful to manage using non-surgical means. If your back or neck pain requires surgical intervention, orthopaedic spine specialist Evan O'Brien, MD and Chris Hennessey, PA, at Woodbury Spine, can help. At their practice in Woodbury, New Jersey, they use advanced techniques such as artificial disc replacement to resolve back and neck pain when other treatments don't work. To take advantage of their expertise in disc replacement surgery, call Woodbury Spine today.
Disc replacement is a procedure in which Dr. O'Brien takes out a herniated or damaged intervertebral disc and substitutes it with an artificial disc. You could have a cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) artificial disc replacement.
Artificial disc replacement at Woodbury Spine offers an alternative to traditional discectomy and fusion surgery, where Dr. O'Brien removes the damaged disc and uses a bone graft to fuse the vertebrae on either side.
Fusion is very effective in eliminating pain but does limit your spinal flexibility. An artificial disc more closely mimics the natural movement of your spine.
Artificial disc replacement is an option that might be necessary if you have disabling back or neck pain and other treatments aren't providing sufficient relief.
Problems like herniated discs and degenerative disc disease are a common cause of spinal pain because they cause compression or irritation of the spinal nerves. As well as pain, you might experience symptoms like numbness, weakness, and, in some cases, loss of function.
For most patients, a conservative treatment program using medication and physical therapy effectively relieves symptoms of disc problems. Dr. O'Brien can administer epidural steroid injections or perform minimally invasive procedures such as radiofrequency ablation and spinal cord stimulation for more persistent pain.
However, if you're one of the few patients for whom these methods don't work, artificial disc replacement surgery might be the next step.
To perform your disc replacement surgery, Dr. O'Brien uses imaging guidance technology to locate the damaged disc and removes it via an incision. After preparing the space between the vertebrae, he inserts the artificial disc and confirms it's in the optimal position before closing the wound.
The artificial discs that Dr. O'Brien uses can reproduce the function of your natural discs, so you retain some flexibility in your spine. This motion preservation is the primary advantage to having disc replacement surgery instead of fusion but isn't suitable for all patients.
Recovery from disc replacement surgery can take several months. You should plan to take a week off work or more if you have a physically demanding job. Dr. O'Brien typically recommends patients undergo physical therapy after artificial disc replacement to rebuild strength and function safely.
To find out more about artificial disc replacement or arrange a consultation, call Woodbury Spine today for an appointment.