Disc Replacement Surgery

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Free Yourself From Cervical or Lumbar Disc Pain

Disc replacement surgery is a minimally invasive spine surgery for patients suffering from degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, or bulging discs. This is a last-resort treatment that should only be attempted if all other conservative solutions, such as physical therapy, rest, and injections, fail to yield the desired results. Dr. Kakoulides carefully examines your spinal health and performs numerous diagnostic tests, including X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, to identify and treat the root cause of your disc problems using the most effective techniques.

Disc replacement surgery is a minimally invasive procedure wherein the damaged, ruptured, bulging, herniated, or worn down spinal discs are replaced. This is one of the most effective alternatives to a spinal fusion or discectomy because it goes one step beyond removing the damaged spinal discs — this procedure replaces the damaged disc with an artificial disc. As such, this minimally invasive spine surgery restores optimal spinal stability and functionality, allowing you to move painlessly.

Types of Disc Replacement

Cervical Disc Replacement

The cervical spine is the neck region consisting of seven vertebrae separated by soft, cushion-like intervertebral discs. Cervical disc replacement is necessary if one or more of the spinal discs in the cervical region are damaged, degenerated, herniated, or bulging. If you have a cervical disc herniation, you may notice the symptoms of cervical nerve radiculopathy — radiating pain, numbness, and tingling sensations on the arms, hands, and fingers.

Lumbar Disc Replacement

The lumbar spine is the lower back region consisting of five vertebrae separated by soft spinal discs. You may need lumbar disc replacement if one or more intervertebral discs in the lumbar region are damaged, bulging, herniated, or worn out. Patients with lumbar disc herniation often notice the symptoms of lumbar nerve radiculopathy, such as radiating pain, tingling sensations, and numbness on the lower back, buttocks, hips, and legs.

Minimally Invasive Treatment for Disc Herniation

The spinal column consists of 33 vertebrae, each separated by soft, shock-absorbing spinal discs that facilitate smooth, frictionless movements, such as twisting and stretching. You need disc replacement surgery if any of these spinal discs are damaged enough to cause nerve compression. Disc replacement surgery is the ideal minimally invasive spine surgery for patients suffering from conditions caused by severely damaged spinal discs — degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or bulging discs.

Degenerative disc disease is a condition wherein age-related wear and tear and the gradual loss of moisture lead to thinner, flatter, and weaker intervertebral discs. If the spinal discs are extremely thin, they can’t provide sufficient shock absorption for the adjacent vertebrae, leading to neck or lower back pain, depending on the location. Disc herniation, meanwhile, is a condition wherein the soft, jelly-like nucleus bulges out through tiny cracks on the spinal discs and presses against the nerve roots.

Disc herniation and degenerative disc disease produce the symptoms of nerve radiculopathy because they often cause nerve compression. If your spinal discs are severely damaged, the resultant bone spurs can pinch the surrounding nerve roots, leading to radiating pains at various parts of the body. Similarly, if the nucleus bulges out of the spinal disc, it can pinch the surrounding nerve roots, sending pain signals into the brain. In both cases, you experience the symptoms of nerve radiculopathy at cervical or lumbar regions.

Disc Replacement Surgery: Benefits

  • Performed as a minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Alleviate the symptoms of cervical and lumbar nerve radiculopathy
  • Alleviate pain and discomfort from the neck and lower back regions
  • Improve overall range of motion in the neck and lower back
  • Suitable treatment solution if all conservative treatments fail
  • Involves minimal downtime and recovery period

Disc Replacement Surgery: Your Journey

Dr. Kakoulides is a huge advocate for non-surgical, conservative spinal care. He always performs thorough diagnostic scans to identify the root cause of your spinal problems, following which he curates a treatment plan consisting of conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and injections. He recommends minimally invasive spine surgery, such as disc replacement surgery, if all other solutions fail. Furthermore, he selects the ideal disc implants to restore the functionality of natural spinal discs.

Your cervical or lumbar disc replacement surgery is performed as a minimally invasive spine surgery under general anesthesia. The neurosurgeon makes a small incision on the front of the neck or the lower back, depending on the location of the damaged spinal disc. After separating the soft tissues, the surgeon accesses and removes the damaged disc using specialized tools. Once the damaged spinal disc is removed, Dr. Kakoulides inserts the artificial cervical or lumbar disc, following which the incisions are sutured.

Disc Replacement Surgery: Recovery & Aftercare

Most patients can return home the day of or the day after the minimally invasive spine surgery. Dr. Kakoulides will provide a detailed overview of your recovery and aftercare guidelines, including activity restrictions, incision care, medications, and more. Depending on the location of the disc replacement surgery, you may have to wear a cervical or lumbar brace to support your spinal column during the healing process. Dr. Kakoulides accompanies you through every step of the recovery, and you can call him directly on his personal phone.