Spinal disc replacement surgery is one of the more promising operations for resolving dire sciatic nerve pain complaints theorized to be linked to terribly degenerated intervertebral discs. Artificial spinal discs provide an enlightened option for patients who truly need surgery to resolve their pain, but are afraid of the problematic long-term ramifications offered by more traditional procedures, such as laminectomy, discectomy and the dreaded spinal fusion.
This investigational essay details the artificial disc
replacement procedure and how it can be successfully utilized to resolve
sciatic nerve pain syndromes.
During disc replacement surgery, the worn out or herniated organic spinal disc is removed and is replaced with an artificial disc made of some combination of metal or high-tech plastic. This disc substitute is securely anchored to the surrounding vertebral bones and replaces the organic disc structure with a man-made design which will perform just like a natural disc.
Basically, this surgery is advantageous, when compared to the traditional choice of spinal fusion, since it keeps the spine capable of all the movements it is designed to perform and does not place any added stress on nearby vertebral levels.
Although this sounds like a complicated surgery, it is actually done with little disruption of the internal anatomy. Most procedures are minimally invasive and use several strategically placed small incisions, often made in the frontal abdomen, to access the spinal column.
Using revolutionary technology and innovative surgical tools, the old disc can be removed and the new artificial disc placed from the front of the body without dissecting any muscles. This makes recovery far faster and more comfortable for the patient. An anterior approach also reduces some of the general risks of major open spinal surgery.
There is a diversity of artificial discs now on the market and more in development every day. Most doctors recognize that artificial disc implantation procedures represent the future of spinal surgery and medical companies are still working on various design types in order to create the perfect disc substitute.
Even more exciting is the possibility of nucleus-only replacement, which will be even less invasive and might be able to be performed as an outpatient procedure in the near future.
Sciatica surgery is no joke and is virtually never actually necessary. Regardless, this fact does not stop millions of patients from going under the knife every year. Some people simply are not aware of their options, while others have obviously been frightened and intimidated into premature surgery, due to the nocebo effect provided by their doctor’s horrific bedside manner.
This being said, for those who want to undergo surgery, or absolutely have to, artificial disc implantation is one of the better options. This surgical technique is available for patients with herniated discs and degenerative disc disease which are blamed for their sciatica symptoms. The procedure is obviously of no use for patients suffering from non-disc related pain syndromes, such as spinal osteoarthritis.
If it comes down to surgery as a final option, consider disc implantation as one of the best choices and all other operative techniques as yesterday’s technology.
There are plenty of related articles covering artificial discs, on The Cure Back Pain Network, for patients who want to learn more. Use the site search function in the right column to find all of them.