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4 Signs It's Time to Consider Disc Replacement Surgery

4 Signs It's Time to Consider Disc Replacement Surgery

Disc replacement surgery is usually a last resort option for chronic back or neck pain that you can’t manage with other treatments. However, surgery isn’t right for everyone.

At Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center, we offer motion preservation surgery to replace diseased or damaged spinal discs with artificial discs.

Jocelyn Idema, DO, specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques to replace just the inner nucleus of the disc or the entire disc.  This type of spine surgery allows you to keep more of your natural spinal movement than other procedures.

Conditions that damage your spinal discs

Spinal discs sit between each of the vertebrae of your spine. The discs feature a tough outer shell that surrounds a gel-like center and are responsible for absorbing the shock of your spine’s movements.

Spine trauma from auto accidents, falls, and other events can damage one or more of your spinal discs. Your discs can also be damaged by degenerative disc disease caused by age-related changes in your spine. As you get older, the outer shell of the disc can break down and collapse, forcing the gel-like nucleus outward – a condition known as a herniated disc.

When the disc material presses on nearby spinal nerves, it can trigger persistent pain in your back or neck depending on the location of the disc. Pain can also radiate down into your shoulders, arms, hips, and legs.

Additionally, you can experience moderate-to-severe pain when your spinal vertebrae rub against each other because of the lack of disc protection.

4 signs that it’s time for disc replacement surgery

Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center uses advanced imaging technology to evaluate the health of your spinal discs.

Dr. Idema also reviews your symptoms and how they affect your quality of life. She may recommend artificial disc replacement surgery if you meet certain criteria, such as:

1. Nonsurgical treatments aren’t working

Initial treatment for disc-related pain typically includes pain relievers, physical therapy, and daily exercises that target the muscles supporting your spine. However, as your condition worsens, it may be time to consider disc replacement surgery.

2. Imaging tests show a herniated disc

A herniated disc can heal on its own with rest and over-the-counter medications. However, if the disc is severely damaged or you have persistent pain from the disc pressing on your spinal nerves, you may be a candidate for disc replacement surgery.

3. You’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease becomes more common as you age. The condition can severely impact your mobility. Having disc replacement surgery can provide significant pain relief, so you can remain active as you get older.

4. You aren’t interested in fusion surgery

Spinal fusion surgery is a procedure to stabilize your spine by fusing two or more vertebrae together. Fusion surgery reduces spinal movements that contribute to chronic inflammation and pain, but it may also limit your spine’s range of motion.

Artificial disc replacement surgery can help you avoid spinal fusion, so you can retain more of your spine’s mobility.

To learn more about the benefits of artificial disc replacement surgery, call the Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center office near you to book a consultation, or schedule an appointment online today. 

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