An artificial disc is a prosthetic device. In essence, the spine MD inserts it between the vertebral bodies. As the name implies, the artificial disc replaces the natural disc. The chief goal of the treatment is preserving the mobility of the treated vertebral segment.
In some instances, artificial disc replacement could be the best option. The spine MD may thus suggest this type of spinal surgery after other treatments. For example, whenever non-surgical therapies prove to be ineffective in relieving the pain caused by an acute disc herniation.
How does artificial disc replacement work?
This type of surgery will to totally or partially remove the damaged disc (discectomy). Mainly in order to relieve the pressure exerted on the nerves and/or spinal cord (decompression).
Successful surgery can restore stability and alignment of the spine. In detail, disc replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, involves the insertion of an artificial disc in the intervertebral space following the removal of a weak disc.
The artificial disk is designed to preserve mobility in the vertebral disc space and throughout the treated vertebral segment. In short, it works as a joint. It favors movement (flexion, extension, lateral inclination, and rotation) and alignment (height and curvature) of the other discs.
Is a spine intervention always necessary?
Surgery is not necessarily the only way forward. A posture reeducation program and physiotherapy exercises can be effective. Especially in solving some spinal pain problems at their root.
In most cases, the spine MD will request a series of exams to qualify the patient for an artificial disc replacement procedure. Mainly to evaluate the presence and severity of osteoporosis or spinal instabilities.
What causes spinal disc problems?
In most mild forms, deviations of the spinal column are frequent. The majority of experts consider them damages of today’s lifestyles, after all. Primarily, the causes are incorrect body positions and bad habits. For instance, standing, walking, sitting, or lifting weights incorrectly. Bad habits can include lifting loads always and only on one side. In the end, all this has a detrimental effect on the spine.
The spine MD will evaluate the patient’s general health. Usually, people most prone to the disease are between the ages of 30 and 40 years. In fact, in your late 30s, the discs begin to lose their elasticity. In short, they become dehydrated. After your 40th birthday, they become stiff, forming fibrous tissue all around. In any case, herniated discs are a little more frequent in men and, in particular, in those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.