Tarpon Springs Disc Replacement Doctor

If you suffer from chronic back pain that has not responded to long-term conservative treatment, disc replacement surgery could give you a new lease on life. This relatively new procedure replaces a worn-out disc with a state-of-the-art artificial disc that mimics the actions of a natural, healthy disc.

If you or someone you know has had a knee or hip replaced, a disc replacement is along the same lines. Speak with an experienced spine doctor to learn more. A Tarpon Springs disc replacement doctor can help you get moving again and relieve your pain.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease is common in older adults, but that does not mean every degenerated disc will cause pain or require replacing. Spinal discs act as shock absorbers, cushioning the impact of movement on the spine. Discs consist of a hard, outer shell and a softer, gel-like interior.

Discs deteriorate as the body ages, losing their hydration and are no longer able to cushion vertebrae. Chronic pain may result, which worsens from long periods of standing or sitting – such as when driving a motor vehicle.

Artificial disc replacement is not an option if a potential patient has more than one or two severely degenerated discs causing pain. For those patients, spinal fusion is generally the preferred option. One should always consult with an experienced doctor, such as a Tarpon Springs disc replacement doctor, when considering different options.

Tarpon Springs Disc Replacement Surgery

During the surgery, the patient lies on their back, and the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen near the navel. There is no actual cutting of the abdominal muscles. They move the internal organs aside, allowing the surgeon to access the spine.

The surgeon removes the disc in question and inserts an artificial disc made of two metal or plastic plates or a combination of the two into space. They put a plastic bearing between the plates, which mimics the way the natural disc works.

Who is Not a Candidate for a Disc Replacement?

Not all patients are candidates for artificial disc replacement, even if only one disc is causing an issue. Contraindications for the procedure include:

  • Obesity
  • Severe osteoarthritis
  • Spinal deformity
  • Spinal instability
  • Prior back surgery
  • Prior abdominal surgery

Contact a Tarpon Springs disc replacement doctor to learn more about who can and cannot receive a disc replacement.

How Long is the Recovery?

Because no bone healing is necessary, disc replacement recovery is generally faster than other types of back surgeries. Patients usually stay in the hospital for two days, and physical therapy begins immediately. The doctor puts an exercise plan in place for each potential patient.

While total recovery may take six weeks, most patients are back to their normal routines – except for strenuous physical exertion – within three to four weeks post-surgery.

Since artificial disc replacement is relatively new, it is still unclear how long an artificial disc will last. For some patients, it is in effect a lifetime cure. For others, the disc may break down within a decade or so. If the latter is the case, another surgery may prove necessary.

Most disc replacement patients will find the total, or at least significant, back pain relief after their recovery. However, a small percentage of patients do not experience significant pain relief. The doctor explains this to a patient prior to surgery, so that the individual can make an informed decision.

Talk to a Tarpon Springs Disc Replacement Doctor Today

Disc replacement surgery may give someone suffering from back pain that has not responded to long-term conservative treatment a new lease on life. However, this may not be the best option for everyone.

To find out more about the surgery and whether you are a candidate, speak to a Tarpon Springs disc replacement doctor who could answer all of your questions.