Overview of Disc Replacement Surgery
When a disc in the neck or low back degenerates or experiences trauma, Dr. Siegal with Key Clinics does everything possible to restore health. However, when the damage is too severe, he can perform a procedure called a disc replacement. As the name implies, this surgery involves removing the degenerated or damaged disc and replacing it with one made of artificial material.
Discs, which have a hard, outer layer and soft gel-like interior, play a critical role in the spine. Located between each vertebra, discs work as natural shock absorbers. In other words, they provide cushioning that prevents bone-on-bone contact of the vertebrae. However, if a disc becomes damaged beyond the point of repair, an excellent solution may entail replacing it with an artificial one.
Why is Cervical or Lumbar Disc Replacement Necessary?
Due to degenerative changes that happen as people age, discs wear down. Sometimes after trauma, perhaps a bad fall or car accident, one or more discs in the neck region also can become damaged. The affected disc can herniate or shift out of its normal position. As a result, pressure can develop on the spinal cord, nerves or nerve roots.
Regardless of the scenario, an individual can experience significant pain. It is common for bone spurs to form in response to the disrupted disc. Formally known as osteophytes, spurs place added pressure on the spinal cord, nerve roots, or both. When bone spurs develop, they cause the existing pain to intensify.
Another risk to consider if a degenerated or damaged disc is not treated early and with the proper method, is that the pain, numbness and tingling that radiates into the arms or legs can become permanent. When that happens, even simple tasks become difficult – if not impossible – to perform.
Treatment Options for Damaged Cervical and Lumbar Discs
When visiting Key Clinics, Dr. Siegal will first perform a physical examination and discuss your medical history. Depending on the number of discs involved and the severity of the degeneration or damage, he may initially recommend medication, physical therapy, and spinal injections. However, if the symptoms continue or worsen, he may recommend a disc replacement.
Not only does the body accept the artificial disc with no problem, but after recovery, patients can live a life without pain and other neurological symptoms. Although one of the newest surgeries in the U.S. for the spine, surgeons in Europe have performed this type of surgery for more than two decades. Lumbar and cervical disc replacements are also an FDA-approved surgery, showing it is a safe option.
After undergoing disc replacement surgery, most patients notice an improvement in mobility within hours and pain relief in just a matter of days. After the skilled hands of Dr. Siegal insert the disc replacement device, patients also regain mobility and go on to enjoy lives with improvement in their functioning with much less pain.
If you have one or more discs in the neck or lower back that have either degenerated or experienced damage, contact us at Key Clinics to schedule a consultation with Dr. Siegal to see if disc replacement surgery is right for you.