Practice Policy Update regarding COVID-19

Artificial Disc Replacement

Artificial disc replacement is a surgical procedure in which an intervertebral disc in the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) regions is replaced with a synthetic disc. Artificial disc replacement is used when our spine discs have been injured past the point of repair.

Artificial Disc Replacement

A disc is the soft, cushioning structure of our spine that between each of the individual vertebra bones. These discs are made up of an outer layer called the annulus fibrosus, and an inner center called a nucleus pulposus. The annulus fibrosus serves as the outer, protective structure and is composed of lamellae; concentric sheets of collagen fibers connected to the vertebrae. The annulus fibrosus encloses the center nucleus pulposus of each disc.

Artificial disc replacement has emerged as one of the alternatives to spinal fusion for the surgical treatment of severe disc problems. There are two types of artificial disc replacement procedures someone can undergo:

  • Nucleus Disc Replacement: Where a hydrogel or injectable nucleus can be administered into the injured Nucleus of the disc following microdiscectomy surgery.
  • Total Disc Replacement: Where the entire nucleus of the disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc. Artificial discs are designed to replicate natural movement and shock absorbing function of the spine. Artificial discs are usually constructed out of metal (titanium) or biopolymer plastic, or a combination of both.

Other factors considered in candidacy are:

  • are considered to have one or two degenerated discs as the source of their pain
  • are not overweight
  • have had no prior back surgeries
  • do not have spinal deformities such as scoliosis
  • do not have significant bony compression or joint disease

Advantages of Artificial Disc Replacement

Advantages Of Artificial Disk Replacement Are:

  • Maintaining normal neck motion
  • Reducing degeneration of adjacent parts of the spine
  • Eliminating the need for a bone graft
  • Faster recovery of neck motion
  • Faster return to normal activity

This is an innovative procedure that is proving to be a viable alternative to conventional spinal fusion surgery  in which the damaged disc is replaced with bone and two vertebrae are fused together for greater enhanced stability. While this may resolve inflammation and instability that was causing discomfort and pain, this procedure may hinder flexibility and shift pressure to other vertebrae. A greater recovery time is required for spinal fusion to allow the bone graft to solidify. With artificial disc replacement, patients are encouraged to resume movement gradually to facilitate recovery to get up and moving again. The ability to move is crucial to one’s existence, and the ultimate surgical procedure will return that precious gift to the lives of back pain sufferers. Artificial disk replacement is a perfect example of just such a surgery.

Yet before this or any surgical procedure is continued, Dr. Payam Moazzaz at New Era Spine will attempt less invasive alternative treatments like injections, physical therapy, and chiropractic adjustments.

This new method of remedying conditions like degenerative disc disease has been in practice for 10 years, while spinal fusion is a more established and extensively researched procedure. At New Era Spine, Dr. Moazzaz will determine the right treatments and procedures for your individual condition. With more than a decade of experience in the orthopedic field, he brings experience, skill, and 3,800+ successful artificial disc replacements, with 100% accuracy. This resume alone renders him one of the finest specialists in the area of orthopedic spine surgery San Diego has to offer.

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