Benefits of Total Disc Replacement
Relieves Chronic Pain
Total disc replacement can result in a dramatic decrease in your back or neck pain. You’ll also have less discomfort during the recovery period compared to other surgical options.
Preserves Range of Motion and Flexibility
With artificial disc replacement, the discs aren’t fused together and can continue to move and shift as needed, preserving your range of motion and flexibility.
Keeps Other Discs Healthy
Your artificial disc will function just like a healthy disc and take pressure off adjacent discs. This reduces the likelihood of further damage or degeneration.
What is an Artificial Disc?
Artificial discs are made of metal or both metal and plastic. The device attaches to the vertebrae on either side of your affected disc using two plates. Artificial discs are designed to replicate the size and function of your natural spinal discs.
Total Disc Replacement Procedure
Our Long Island spine surgeon performs total disc replacement surgery in a hospital setting while you’re under general anesthesia. The surgery takes about two to three hours.
For lumbar disc replacement in your lower back, Dr. Choi makes an incision in your abdomen and gently moves your organs and blood vessels aside. This lets him access the spine without putting the adjacent nerves at risk. He then exposes the disc space, takes out the damaged material and replaces it with an artificial disc.
When performing a cervical disc replacement, Dr. Choi makes the incision in the front of your neck. After moving the muscle, tissue and other structures aside, he removes the affected disc and replaces it with the artificial disc.
Total Disc Replacement Recovery
Following your Long Island total disc replacement surgery, you’ll stay in the hospital for two to four days. During this time, Dr. Choi will keep tabs on your progress. You’ll also receive help standing and walking around as soon after the procedure as possible, which can speed up your recovery period.
When you return home, you’ll need to avoid hyperextending your back for a few weeks. You’ll also want to continue walking regularly, as well as stretching. This will help with the healing process.
The majority of our patients have a significant reduction in their pain levels in the weeks and months after their surgery. Though there is a chance the pain will never go away completely, you should notice a dramatic, lasting difference.
Am I a Candidate for Total Disc Replacement Surgery?
When you visit with our Long Island spine specialist, Dr. Daniel Choi, he’ll perform a physical exam and talk with you about your symptoms, the treatments you’ve tried in the past and your health history. An x-ray will be needed to properly evaluate the extent of your spinal damage and determine if your condition will respond to artificial disc replacement. Dr. Choi may also order a CT scan or an MRI to get additional information.
Once Dr. Choi has taken your imaging studies, exam and history into account, he’ll be able to develop an accurate diagnosis and determine if the treatment is right for you. If it is, he’ll explain the procedure in detail and answer any questions you have so you feel well informed.
While every patient is unique, in general, Dr. Choi may recommend total disc replacement if you:
- Have chronic back pain resulting from one or two intervertebral discs
- Have significant neck pain and stiffness
- Are still in pain after trying conservative treatments
- Have numbness or weakness in your arms and legs
- Do not have spinal nerve compression, facet joint disease or spinal deformities
- Are not significantly overweight or obese
- Have never had prior spinal surgery