Back problems and spinal cord issues used to be one of the toughest problems for doctors to solve. The technology to deal with these issues was very primitive, and the complexity of the spinal cord nerve network presented huge issues.
Not any more. Technology for these injuries is advancing at an incredible rate, especially when it comes to disc problems. Damaged discs can now be replaced with artificial implants to limit the pain and increase mobility, and this option is increasing the attainable comfort level for patients who are in pain.
The technique is similar in theory to that used in surgeries to replace hip and knee joints, and this technology has been in place for over 40 years. One of the big differences is then in artificial disc replacement, however, is that one of the three joints is removed at each vertebral level. Compare this with a knee or hip replacement—in these operations, the entire joint must be replaced.
The other option that is usually in play with this kind of injury or pain is spinal fusion. To date, artificial disc replacement tends to have a higher rate of success, and that should only continue as the techniques become more sophisticated and surgeons learn more along the way.
One of the most important factors in this kind of surgery is the ability of the patient to self-educate and make the best possible choice. It’s critical to discuss pain with both the orthopedist and the surgeon to get an idea of what kind of results can be expected. Patients also need to understand that not all pain can be corrected by this kind of surgery. Some kinds of back pain are chronic, and an array of treatments must be considered.
The right diagnostic tools must be employed in advance, too. This includes X-rays, MRIs, and possibly even CT scans.
These tests are necessary to determine whether the best option is spinal fusion surgery or artificial disc replacement, and which choice will bring the biggest pain relief.
Another element that patients must understand is that disc and lumbar injuries are often degenerative. That means that for some patients the level of degeneration may dictate the appropriate surgery, and it may also play a huge part in the results.
The overall future does look bright for this kind of surgery, though. Considering the advances that have been made in the last … Read the rest