Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty
The lumbar disc arthroplasty surgery may only be considered to relieve the pain and restore the function, if;
- The patient has been suffering from an unremitting back pain
- At least six months of aggressive non-surgical treatment must have failed to help the patient
- If the patient faces difficulty in performing everyday activities due to the back pain and other various symptoms
The traditional approach to treating pain and/or disability from lumbar degenerative disc disease has always been a spinal fusion. This surgery involves forming a direct bony connection between the vertebrae surrounding the painful disc(s). The pain relief occurs by stopping the motion of the painful disc(s).
There are a wide variety of options available with spinal fusion. Each of these options come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Surgical techniques include fusion approached from the front, the back, or both. Spinal instrumentation in the form of intervertebral cages and/or pedicle screws provide internal structural support. While the bone fuses, and bone graft can either be harvested from the patient or one of a number of synthetic bone graft substitutes. Extenders can also be used as a substitute.
A newer surgical option for the treatment of painful lumbar discs in the US is disc arthroplasty. With disc arthroplasty, pain relief is brought about by removal of the painful disc. Whereas, the motion is maintained with the use of a prosthetic implant made of metal. This implant can possibly also be made with the addition of a polyethylene bearing surface.
The materials and theory behind the lumbar disc arthroplasty are similar to the hip, knee and shoulder replacements. These procedures have been performed for the past three decades by orthopaedic surgeons to maintain motion and alleviate pain from arthritic joints.
The difference in the lumbar spine is that only one of the three joints that contributes motion at each level is being replaced. This joint being the intervertebral disc space. On the other hand, in a hip or knee, the entire joint is replaced.
Lumbar fusion is the more widely performed procedure. There are only a small percentage of patients with symptomatic degenerative disc disease who are eligible for lumbar disc replacements. If a patient has been suffering from unremitting low back pain, if at least six months of aggressive nonsurgical treatment has failed to help, and especially if the pain and other symptoms are making it difficult to complete everyday activities, then back surgery may be an option to bring about pain relief and restore one’s ability to function.
For more questions, contact our offices located in Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville marketplaces.