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Artificial Disc Replacement

Artificial Disc Replacement

What is a Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement?

An artificial cervical disc is a device inserted between two vertebrae in the neck in order to replace a damaged disc. The intent of the artificial disc is to preserve motion at the disc space. It is an alternative to the commonly performed anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Contact AllSpine Laser Spine Center now.

Artificial disc replacement (ADR) surgery—also known as a total disc arthroplasty or total disc replacement (TDR)—is typically performed for a patient with a cervical disc herniation that is causing significant neck pain and/or arm pain that has not responded to nonsurgical treatment options and is significantly affecting the individual’s quality of life and ability to function.

What is the success rate of disc replacement surgery?

Artificial disc replacement is a safe and effective treatment of cervical disc degeneration and is often superior to ACDF in the short and long term.

In the long term the success rate for artificial disc replacement is as high as 80%, compared to 65% with ACDF. The future of disc replacement surgery is also advancing, since new generations of artificial discs are devices which will be able to naturally replicate our bodies disc kinematics.

How long does an artificial disc replacement last?

Artificial discs are meant to replace your natural spinal discs which are used as a cushion or shock absorber for the motion of your spine. The design of the discs are meant to avoid revision surgery, so modern artificial discs are created to last 50+ years while acting as an appropriate replacement for your disc.

There are many types of artificial discs available, however, the most popular disc is a composite disc. This is commonly made of a polyethylene spacer, and two metal endplates with a ring around it for x-ray visibility.

There are also hydraulic artificial discs, which have a gel-like core covered with a polyethylene jacket. These absorb fluid and expand to give cushioning between vertebrae. Elastic discs generally have a rubber or silicone component at their core. Mechanical artificial discs include pivot / ball mechanicsms.

What are Some Advantages to Having an Artificial Disc Replacement Versus Having a Fusion?

Artificial disc replacement is a cutting edge procedure that replaces a degenerated disc to solve your neck or back pain issues. Spinal fusion literally fuses two vertebrae in your spine with hardware including screws and metal plates, and prevents movement between the two fused bones. There are many advantages to having artificial disc replacement done over fusion such as:

  • Better long-term motion and flexibility
  • Reducing degeneration of adjacent segments of the cervical spine
  • Eliminating potential complications and issues associated with the need for a bone graft and the hardware used in ACDF surgery
  • Allowing early postoperative neck motion
  • Quicker recovery times following surgery

Are you a good candidate for Artificial Disc Replacement?

ADR surgery is most likely used to treat the following conditions:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease. Occurs when intervertebral discs (the soft, gel-like cushions between the vertebrae that absorb pressure and help keep the bones of the vertebrae from rubbing against each other) lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics. The tough outside covering of the disc can become torn, and the soft center starts to dry out and shrink.
  • Post-Discectomy Syndrome: This problem sometimes occurs when pain continues following surgery to remove a herniated disc.
  • Traumatic injury of the vertebrae.

There are some conditions that may prevent the use of an artificial disc. Some individuals that do not typically do well with ADR include people whose bones are not strong due to aging, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases.

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