Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery: Who is a Candidate?

Posted on: 29 January 2024

Disc degeneration can cause chronic back pain, which can drastically affect the quality of life for those who struggle with it. While there are various treatment options available for such individuals, artificial disc replacement surgery is quickly gaining popularity due to its long-term results. Explore some criteria that make someone a candidate for the procedure and those that preclude people from the surgery.

What is Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?

Artificial disc replacement surgery is a minimally invasive spinal surgery where a damaged or degenerated disc is replaced with an artificial one. The procedure aims to relieve back pain while retaining the spine's natural motion. This surgery is ideal for individuals who have a single-level injury or degenerated disc.

Who is a Candidate for Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?

Artificial disc replacement surgery is ideal for certain people. A person who experiences chronic back pain from a single-level disc injury or degeneration and has attempted conservative treatments like physical therapy and medication but still experiences pain may be a candidate for artificial disc replacement. Before surgery, a doctor will perform diagnostic imaging and evaluate the patient's overall health to determine if they meet the criteria.

Who Should Not Get Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?

Although artificial disc replacement surgery is not suitable for everyone. People who have severe spinal deformities, osteoporosis, or multi-level disc injuries are not considered good candidates for this procedure. In addition, those with inflammatory, autoimmune, or chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes may not be eligible for the surgery. Patients who have undergone previous spinal surgeries or those with a history of certain cancers should not have artificial disc replacement. Older patients may not be ideal candidates if their bones are not strong enough to support the artificial disc. 

Benefits of Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

The benefits of artificial disc replacement surgery include a quicker recovery period, and patients may see a reduction in daily pain medication usage. Additionally, patients can expect their range of motion to improve, and the surgical site will be small, which reduces the risk of postoperative complications. Patients who undergo this surgery will also retain the natural motion of their spine, leading to long-term success.

Artificial disc replacement surgery is a solution for chronic back pain caused by disc degeneration. It is ideal for a specific group of individuals, and patients considering this surgery should weigh the benefits and risks with their doctor. Although there are risks associated with this surgery, the benefits can vastly improve a patient's quality of life. If you are experiencing chronic back pain and have tried conservative treatments without relief, speak with your doctor to see if artificial disc replacement surgery is right for you.