Our spinal columns are quite literally at the center of everything we do, informing our every step, twist, or motion. Even our ability to stand upright and motionless is entirely dependent on our spine. Research indicates that over 80% of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives, and around 5% will go on to develop chronic pain. While there are a range of different approaches to regaining spinal health, for severe pain and mobility issues, surgical intervention may be necessary. Artificial disc replacement surgery has emerged as a superior surgical option. The turn of the millennium in the US marked the first year in which artificial disc replacement surgery, or ADR, was performed. although the procedure can be traced back a further ten years in Europe. Here’s how and when it can cure the pain of a bad back.
If your spinal pain is chronic and is assessed by a specialist as being related to a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease, you may be a candidate for ADR, also known as TDR, or total disc replacement. It’s an operation in which the damaged disc, or in some cases discs, are replaced with an artificial motion device. ADR is an alternative to spinal fusion procedures, and one that may offer improved long-term pain relief solutions. A medical study found that twice as many patients were pain free five years post-surgery having undergone a total disc replacement as compared to those who had a spinal fusion. Of course, individual circumstances always have a great bearing on the success of any treatment and it’s impossible to unequivocally say that one option is better than the other for all patients. The goal of any spinal surgery is to address any restriction of mobility, and lessen the associated pain or tingling sensations.
It also isn’t one size fits all when it comes to the type of replacement disc a surgeon will recommend. There’s a large range of cervical and lumbar discs, most made from artificial materials, that provide for a range of different placement options. A spine specialist will use a patient’s imaging studies along with clinical insights into the efficacy of certain discs, to choose the most appropriate disc. As research into the area is ongoing, newer disc options are constantly in development and trial at highly regarded institutions such as the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center of Excellence. Spinal neurosurgeon Dr. Todd H. Lanman, who has over 30 years of experience in his field, founded the Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center with a focus on providing the latest in advanced ADR procedures. Dr. Lanman, together with orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Jason M. Cuéllar, heads the team at adrspine.com, providing a range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options that can help you take actionable steps towards a healthy back.