Disc Replacement Surgery

Disc Replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure that should only be considered for patients whose condition has been serious for a long period of time and unresponsive to non-operative treatments.

The aim of disc replacement surgery is to relieve back pain coming from the discs. This is achieved by removing the disc which is causing the pain and substituting it with an artificial disc crafted from medical-grade metal and plastic.

There are a number of things a doctor will take into consideration before deciding whether or not someone is an appropriate candidate for disc replacement surgery. For example, patients who are excessively overweight or have previously had some form of spinal surgery will generally be considered as an inappropriate candidate for this major surgery.

 

Surgery

The patient will be put under a general anaesthetic before Mr Hutchinson and his team of surgeons perform the operation. Mr Hutchonson will usually be assisted by a vascular surgeon and the procedure will begin with an incision in the abdomen.

The organs and blood vessels are then moved to one side to allow access to the spine without interfering with the nerves.

Mr Hutchinson will then remove the affected disc before cleaning the adjacent vertebrae of bone fragments. The artificial disc will then be installed in the place of the previous disc, with its metal end plates securing to the ends of the vertebrae on either side of the space.

The incision is then closed through the use of internal absorbable stitches. The surgery usually takes up to between 1-2 hours.

Recovery

The patient will usually be expected to stay in hospital for 2-4 days after the operation, although there is a good chance they could be up and walking unassisted during the first day after surgery.

Patients will be given a number of exercises designed to keep the spine limber and speed up the recovery process.

It is recommended that the patient refrain from any taxing activities for a few while and a full recovery could take anything from a few weeks to a few months.