Surgery for Degenerative Disk Disease
Those with degenerative disc disease enjoy a 33% reduction in pain score and a 25% decrease in disability when compared to non-surgical patients. Operative care even reduces treatment costs. Spinal fusion has been the traditional go-to approach for many years, but treating such a broad range of conditions in the same way is like trying to shoot a fly with a cannon. Thorough diagnostics will determine the best surgical option for you.
Fusion stabilizes parts of the spine that are causing pain. There are three broad options here: posterolateral, interbody, and minimally invasive fusions. The latter evades muscle damage and speeds up recovery times. This makes it an excellent choice for patients who have a high risk of infection and inflammation.
Artificial Disc Replacement
Artificial discs are best for pain that’s caused by the disc itself rather than by instability. This surgery can’t recreate full motion, but it does leave you with more movement than fusions can achieve, which could reduce the likelihood of further degeneration. The incision is made directly over the spine these days rather than above the abdomen, which reduces risk of injury. Total disc replacement removes all disc tissue, while disc nucleus replacement implants a device between the vertebra.This technique has been in use since the Sixties, but its results and safety profile are comparable with fusion.
The more precise your diagnosis, the better your odds of choosing an effective surgical cure. Your doctor will need to assess your risk of delayed healing, infection, and neurological impairment to make sure your surgery doesn’t lead to further damage. Tissue engineering techniques will eventually be added to your options. They’re currently bring put through human trials, so one day, it might become possible to grow new tissue at the damage site.
If you've been diagnosed with degenerative disk disease, it's not too late to visit Sonoran Spine. We treat every patient uniquely and explore all of their surgical options.