New Port Richey Disc Replacement Doctor

If you have degenerative disc disease and conservative treatments have not helped over a period of at least six months, you may be a candidate for disc replacement. While doctors have long performed disc replacement in Europe and Asia, the FDA only recently approved it for domestic use. Currently, doctors may only replace discs in the lower back or lumbar region, but cervical disc replacement may come to pass within the next few years. A New Port Richey disc replacement doctor could relieve your pain and restore your mobility and quality of life. Read on to learn more about how a professional spine specialist could make a difference in your life today.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Spinal discs play the part of the spine’s shock absorbers.  A disc is located between each spinal vertebrae and consists of a soft, gel-like interior and a hard, outer compartment. In youth, discs consist primarily of water, but they dry out and stiffen over the years. This may result in chronic pain and mobility issues. As they degenerate, the jelly-like interior might leak out, causing irritation to nearby nerves.

Since discs lack a blood supply, they are incapable of healing on their own. Those who suffer from degenerative disc disease may benefit from first visiting a weathered back pain doctor to determine which discs are causing the issue and what methods of therapy could be available.

Disc Replacement Candidates

Not every patient with back pain resulting from disc degeneration can undergo disc replacement surgery. Certain pre-existing conditions rule out disc replacement surgery. Those with any of the following conditions are not disc replacement surgery candidates:

  • Obesity
  • Spinal deformity
  • Nerve compression
  • Prior spinal surgery
  • Prior abdominal surgery
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Severe arthritis
  • More than two defective discs

Just because someone is not a disc replacement candidate does not mean they must continue to suffer from disc pain. Many of those not suited for disc replacement surgery can find relief through another type of surgery known as spinal fusion that relieves pain but does not allow for as much movement. A New Port Richey disc replacement doctor could assist these individuals in determining the best course of treatment for their individual situation.

Step by Step Procedure

A seasoned New Port Richey disc replacement doctor will perform disc replacement via an incision in the abdomen, not the back. The surgeon moves the blood vessels and internal organs out of the way in order to access the spine. They remove the damaged disc and insert the new disc made of plastic, metal or a combination of these materials. The surgeon places a plastic bearing between the two plates, which allows the disc to move much like a natural one. The procedure lasts between two and three hours.

Post-Surgery Recovery Process

Because there is no bone healing necessary, disc replacement patients tend to recover fully within six weeks of the operation. The average disc replacement patient stays in the hospital for two days, and physical therapy begins almost at once. Patients may expect to stand and walk on the night of the surgery.

Once home, patients must follow the exercise regimen prescribed by the doctor. By the third week post-surgery, many patients can engage in the core abdominal muscle exercises needed to aid in spine strengthening. By the fourth week, most patients return to their normal routines apart from the most strenuous activities. By the sixth week, patients can usually participate in their most active pursuits.

How a New Port Richey Disc Replacement Doctor Can Help

Disc degeneration may be a part of growing older, but it is not a pain you must suffer. If disc degeneration has a negative impact on your life, a New Port Richey disc replacement doctor may be able to help. An experienced New Port Richey disc replacement doctor may help you determine whether you are a candidate for this procedure and can answer any questions you may have.