The human spine is made up of 24 spinal bones? As the connective tissues between these bones change with age, disc degeneration can occur, causing extreme pain in the lower back.
Along with minimally invasive microsurgery, Dr. Bae specializes in lumbar spinal disease and was among the first to use multi-level artificial disc replacement for the lumbar spine. His clinical results of ProDisc-II Lumbar Total Disc Replacement have been presented extensively at esteemed conferences both nationally and internationally and his team of physicians continues to research and participate in studies regarding the safety and efficiency of lumbar artificial disc replacement.
Lumbar artificial disc replacement (LADR) is a type of surgery that involves removing a diseased or damaged disc in the lower part of the spine and replacing it with an artificial implant. The disc replacement procedure is generally seen as an alternative to traditional lumbar fusion, with the goal of reducing pain and symptoms of degenerative disc disease, while still allowing for motion of the spine.
LADR is performed through the anterior or front of the spine and will require the surgeon to make an incision in the abdomen. After the affected disc is properly identified, it will be removed and the disc space will be heightened, taking pressure off the nerves and making room for the artificial disc. The artificial disc will then be inserted into the lumbar spine and any disc fragments pressing against the nerve will be removed as well. Similar to hip and knee joint replacements, the artificial disc will act as a substitute for the affected disc and will help to keep spinal motion as natural and normal as possible.
Following the surgery, you can expect to be in the hospital anywhere from two to four days. Patients can expect to experience some immediate relief from pain, but most will notice a gradual improvement over the next weeks to months. Although each surgery outcome and recovery period will vary among patients, many can safely sit, walk, drive and lift items weighing less than ten pounds during initial recovery period. The doctor will also recommend a medication and physical therapy plan, which can be modified over the course of the weeks following surgery to ensure comfort and proper healing.
There are general risks associated with all surgeries including poor reaction to anesthesia, infection and blood clots. Complications from the lumbar artificial disc replacement procedure specifically, are rare and are lower than for spinal fusion. Complications include infection of the disc or surrounding area, dislocation of the disc, implant failure or loosening and spinal nerve injury. Because complications decrease with advances in technology and better surgical techniques, it’s important to work with a board-certified surgeon who is familiar with the most modern surgical devices and latest LADR procedures.
As an innovative new spinal procedure, long-term studies assessing the safety and effectiveness of lumbar artificial disc replacement are ongoing. Thus far, results report a low complication rate with patient satisfaction good to excellent in most cases.
Not everyone with back pain is a good candidate for a lumbar disc replacement surgery. At the Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, we will perform a number of advanced diagnostic tests to determine if lumbar artificial disc replacement is the right choice for you or if another procedure would better serve your individual needs. To find out if you are a candidate for LADR or to request an in-office consultation, call (310) 828-7757 today.