If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, and are experiencing limited movement because of a degenerative or/and herniated disc, you might want to consider Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR)surgery. When done right, the procedure can significantly improve the quality of your life. However, this is a big decision that should be thoroughly thought over and well planned. Below are some of the important things you should know to help you make the right decision.
Why is ADR important?
Most cases of back and neck pains are easily treatable using conservative treatments. Some even go away on their own without needing surgery. However, some pains remain consistent and unbearable even with the use of therapy, pain medications, injections, sufficient rest, and heat treatments. If this goes on for more than six months, then you might have to consider going for surgery. But, before making the decision, your CT or MRA results should indicate degenerative disc as the source of your problem.
Longevity of ADR
It’s difficult to get a straight answer for this question, as different findings indicate various results. However, with modern technology, it might last you for over 50 years. To be sure, ask your surgeon to tell you the expected lifespan of the disc. Remember, this will also depend on how active your lifestyle is.
Once you’re sure you need spine surgery, it’s time to choose the right option. Currently, you only have two alternatives, the ADR, and the Spinal Fusion. ADR surgery involves the removal of the bad disc, allowing it to be replaced with an artificial one. On the other hand, in Spinal Fusion, the bad/diseased disc is removed, and the bones fused to become longer. Out of the two, the ADR option gives you more mobility. However, sometimes you’ve no choice but to settle for Spinal Fusion, as per your surgeon recommendation.
How Qualified is Your Surgeon?
ADR surgery is a complicated procedure that requires the right expert. Therefore, you shouldn’t settle for just any spinal surgeon, as not all of them can perform ADR successfully. Also, finding the right expert gives you access to the correct advice that will help you decide whether you actually need surgery or not. And if yes, which disc to settle for.
Once you decide to go through with the surgery, it’s important to prepare for the recovery period. This could take a few weeks to months, depending on various factors. You will also need to remain in the hospital for observation for at least 6 hours. Also, you might not have to work for at least two weeks after your surgery. Ask your ADR surgeon for the possible recovery timeframe for adequate preparation.