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The Quick Guide to Artificial Disc Replacements

If you’re suffering from chronic back or neck pain, a surgical solution may be the best treatment, depending on several factors. An Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR) is an efficient procedure to minimize or eliminate chronic back and spine pain. While ADRs are only appropriate for certain patients, the procedures lead to a high rate of positive patient outcomes at DISC. Here’s a quick guide to Artificial Disc Replacements.

First, before even considering an Artificial Disc Replacement, you and your doctor ought to have a conversation about whether any surgery is the best option. There are several crucial factors in deciding whether or not surgery is the most appropriate path for a patient; some of these factors include but are not limited to: severity of pain, whether there is nerve damage, whether or not the patient has tried more conservative options like physical therapy, and much more. To be put simply: you should have a long conversation with your doctor weighing to pros and cons of even having a surgery in the first place.



Next, if you and your doctor have decided surgery is the best path forward, you will need to determine which procedure is most fitting for your situation. Usually, this will come down to a choice between either an ADR or an ACDF surgery (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion). Depending on your situation, an ACDF may be the best option, but ADRs have several powerful benefits. First, Artificial Disc Replacements promote more mobility compared to fusions. Since an ACDF surgery involves fusing two vertebrae together, those vertebrae lose their mobility. Beyond the loss of mobility between the two fused vertebrae, more pressure is put on the discs adjacent to the fused vertebrae. For these reasons and more, ADRs are generally more desirable surgeries.

Once you’ve decided to go with an Artificial Disc Replacement, you may be wondering what to expect the day of. At DISC, patients usually arrive about a couple hours before their surgery. Patients will change into a comfortable gown, rest in their own patient room, and converse with DISC’s professionals (nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgeons) before surgery. Patients are then put under.

The ADR procedure usually only takes about an hour or two. Once back in the patient room, DISC staff will let the patient rest for about half an hour until gently being woken up. As the anesthesia wears off, DISC staff will usually get the patient sitting upright, standing, and slowly walking soon after surgery in order to promote a quicker recovery.

The patient should take it easy in the weeks just after surgery: avoiding fast movements, strenuous activities, etc. In most cases, patients will be back to close to full capacity after just a few months.

Read our e-book on Artificial Disc Replacements for more information.

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Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D.

About the author

Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D. Nicknamed “Dr. Fix-It” by The Red Bulletin, Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D. makes an art of helping the world’s most elite athletes return to push the boundaries of performance. The neurological spine surgeon, recognized globally for his thorough diagnoses and pioneering minimally invasive approach, is quickly redefining sports medicine, one champion at a time. Dr. Bray founded the state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) in 2006 located in Los Angeles, CA. Read more articles by Robert S. Bray, Jr., M.D..

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