Austin Neurosurgical Institute
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery & Complex Spine Surgery located in Austin, TX
You may have heard of joint replacements for the knee or hip. An artificial disc replacement is the same concept, but used to treat pain in the cervical or lumbar spine. At Austin Neurosurgical Institute, accredited neurological surgeon Thomas Loftus, MD, FAANS, removes a degenerated or herniated spinal disc and replaces it with a prosthetic implant. You retain motion of the spine but experience relief in pain, weakness, or numbness. Call the Austin, Texas, office or use the online tool to schedule an appointment today and learn more about Artificial Disc Replacement.
Artificial Disc Replacement Q&A
What is artificial disc replacement?
Artificial disc replacement is a form of minimally invasive spine surgery during which Dr. Loftus replaces an entire damaged intervertebral disc with an artificial implant. It’s often an alternative to spinal fusion treatments for back pain and dysfunction.
Who is a candidate for artificial disc replacement?
Artificial disc replacement is not usually the first step in treatment for back conditions. But if conservative therapies like pain medications, therapeutic injections, physical therapy, and muscle relaxants fail to bring you relief, it may be a viable treatment option.
Dr. Loftus does a careful evaluation to determine if you’re a good candidate for artificial disc replacement because certain conditions don’t respond well to the treatment. Patients with spondylolisthesis and lumbar spinal stenosis are not usually good candidates.
What is the process for getting an artificial disc replacement?
Dr. Loftus accesses the discs of your spine through the front of your body (for cervical replacements) or through the back of your body (for lumbar replacements). He uses a minimally invasive approach with very small incisions.
He removes the entire damaged disc and replaces it with a prosthetic disc made of metal or a polymer material.
Is artificial disc replacement better than spinal fusion?
Spinal fusion is frequently recommended if you have a damaged or deteriorated disc. It involves removing the affected disc and placing a bone graft into the space left between the vertebrae.
Spinal fusion effectively reduces pain and improves the quality of life in people with degenerative disc disease and herniated discs. The procedure can, however, reduce your normal spinal flexibility.
An advantage of artificial disc replacement is that it helps you maintain the flexibility of your natural discs. After artificial disc replacement, you may be better able to move more freely than you would after spinal fusion.
An artificial disc replacement may also relieve strain on other vertebrae and discs in your spine. This can reduce your chances of further deterioration and help reduce the likelihood that you’ll need another surgery in the future.
If you’d like to explore artificial disc replacement as a treatment option for your disc problems, call Austin Neurosurgical Institute to set up an appointment, or use this website to book one today.