Spinal disc replacement surgery involves removing a deteriorating disc and replacing it with a prosthetic disc that is generally made out of metal, ceramic and plastic. The procedure was developed as an alternative to traditional open spinal fusion surgery.
For artificial disc surgery, the prosthetic disc used often has a ball-and-socket or a sandwich design. Hydrogel (water-insoluble gel) and polyethylene (plastic) are common materials for the inner nucleus of the disc, while cobalt chromium, titanium or other metals make up the outside of the disc. Sometimes, a prosthetic disc also contains small metal “teeth” that can attach directly to bone, since one role of intervertebral discs is to join adjacent vertebrae together. This being the case, patients who want replacement disc surgery must have spinal bone that is strong enough to support the artificial disc.
After your spine disc surgery, your physician may do frequent X-rays to ensure that the new disc has not shifted or dislocated. Under a physician’s supervision, you will also need to embark on a schedule of disc pain relief physical therapy so that you retain strength in your neck and back. Also, keep in mind that if you’re inactive for too long after surgery, certain muscles and joints have a tendency to “freeze” or spontaneously lock. Although your activity should be mild for the first days and weeks after the operation, staying sedentary will not help your body acclimate to the new prosthetic disc. Overall, you should try to maintain a healthy lifestyle both before and after your surgery. Harmful substances like nicotine, alcohol and foods high in saturated fat will only make it that much more difficult for your body to adjust.
As with any operation, a spinal disc replacement surgery does come with risks. If you would like to find out about alternatives to open spine disc replacement surgery or other open back disc surgeries, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our minimally invasive procedures can help you get back on the path to an active lifestyle. We’ll be happy to review your MRI or CT scan, completely free of charge.