Mechanical back pain may be associated with degenerative disc disease which is a gradual degeneration of the disc between the vertebrae caused by the natural aging process. Traditionally, spinal fusion surgery was used to relieve the pain from degenerative disc disease. However, with fusion, the adjacent segment is exposed to increased mechanical stress, which accelerates further disc degeneration. Artificial disc replacement is a relatively new procedure that has been developed as an alternative to spinal fusion for providing pain relief and stability in patients with degenerative disc disease.
The aim of artificial disc replacement surgery is to preserve the normal movement of the disc space and to prevent degeneration of the disc.
Artificial disc replacement surgery is performed under sterile conditions in the operating room with the patient under general anesthesia. Your surgeon approaches the spine through an incision made in the abdomen. Then the disc space is exposed; the damaged disc is removed and replaced with the artificial disc. The soft tissues are repositioned and the incisions are closed. After completion of the procedure the patient is transferred to the recovery room.
Usually patients are discharged home within the next few days after the procedure. You need to keep your wound clean and dry. You will also be seen at a follow-up visit with your surgeon in the next 7 to 10 days, after your discharge.
The potential complications associated with artificial disc replacement may include infection, nerve injury, bleeding, injury to veins and arteries, and a risk of developing retrograde ejaculation in men.