The Spine Center is the home of advanced spinal surgery in the Chicago area. We use minimally invasive techniques and advanced implant devices for total disc replacement.
Arthroplasty is a medical field focusing on restoration of joints affected by severe degeneration. Total disc arthroplasty (TDA) is a surgical technique that completely removes a compromised spinal disc, replacing it with a specially designed implant made of polyethylene and metal. The procedure is commonly referred to as total disc replacement. Request an appointment for consultation and more information on how we can help you.
There are various techniques, but the arthroplasty procedure generally consists of the following steps:
- After anesthesia and preparation, a very small incision is created
- The damaged disc or discs are removed, relieving pressure on the spinal nerves
- Vertebra are gently spread apart, restoring the natural space cushion
- An appropriately sized implant is inserted and positioned
- When the procedure is complete and the endplates are seated, the prosthesis is carefully evaluated using x-ray imagery
Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (Disc Replacement in the Neck)
Failure of discs in the neck can cause pain, limited mobility, numbness, tingling, and even paralysis. The traditional remedy is spinal fusion, which causes multiple vertebrae to grow together, essentially forming a single bone. The disadvantage of fusion is increased stress on the adjacent disc due to limited motion at the fused level. This may lead to additional surgeries in the future due to disc disease at the next level. By contrast, cervical disc arthroplasty recreates the natural spinal structure, relieving pain while preserving flexibility. Cervical arthroplasty typically only requires one, very small, incision at the front of the neck.
Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty (Disc Replacement in the Lower Back)
Another common site of disc degeneration is the lower back. Known as lumbar disc degeneration, it is a leading cause of debilitating back pain. Depending on the degree of disc degeneration and anatomic location, your physician may recommend lumbar disc arthroplasty to treat a degenerated lumbar disc.
When is this Procedure Performed?
Just as many issues and injuries can lead to spinal problems, multiple factors may lead to a physician recommending TDA. Any kind of trauma or disease that causes a cervical or lumbar disc to have compromised function may prompt a physician at The Spine Center to suggest a total disc arthroplasty. One common ailment that may lead to TDA is degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative disc disease usually arises as part of the natural aging process. Your spine has naturally occurring water in its discs as part of the cushioning between vertebrae. Over time, discs tend to lose this water, causing them to thin and potentially causing pain. Injury, tearing due to athletic exertion or certain repetitive daily activities, or the strain of carrying too much body weight can result in degenerative disc disease and associated discomfort.
Please note that TDA is not necessarily a full replacement for spinal fusion, and not every condition addressed by spinal fusion can be properly treated with TDA.
How to Prepare for Total Disc Replacement
Prior to any surgical procedure, patients should make sure to follow all of their physicians’ instructions. Careful adherence to a doctor’s counsel may alleviate some of your symptoms without surgery. The Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology noted, “Most patients suffering from low back pain improve satisfactorily without surgery, but 1% to 5% of them do not respond to appropriate nonsurgical care, such as muscle strengthening, physical therapy, massage, manipulation, weight control, and analgesia.” If you’re in that 1% to 5% and need surgical intervention, make sure to follow these steps.
First, you will need to undergo all of the tests and blood tests requested by your doctor. These tests help medical professionals know that you can successfully tolerate surgery, including whether or not it is safe for you to undergo anesthesia. They also let your doctor know about any potential complications you could experience.
Next, you ought to care for yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Making sure that you have adequate nutrition, enjoy regular exercise, and lose any excess weight will help speed your recovery. So will avoiding smoking, heavy drinking, and too much stress. Preparing yourself mentally is also important. Even successful surgeries aren’t always easy, so prepare your mindset accordingly.
Finally, make sure you have a support system and help from friends and family in place. The first week after surgery you will likely find that you are weaker than usual, so rely on others for day-to-day tasks as need arises. Your energy level should start to return to normal over the subsequent two to four weeks, and you will probably be able to resume your everyday activities after a month. However, if your job requires heavy lifting, you will likely need to wait six to eight weeks in total.
Call (847) 698-9330 and schedule a consultation to find out if you are a good candidate.