Am I too old to get a disc replacement? I'm 65 years "young".
Studies show that younger patients have the best results after artificial disc replacement (ADR). "Younger" refers to age 40 and younger. Patients in this age group had fewer problems and complications during and after surgery.
But age by itself doesn't pose a contraindication for total disc replacement. Older adults can get pain relief and improved function after ADR too. The patient's overall health and function are also important factors. Anyone with diabetes, heart disease, or other chronic health problems is at increased risk for complications with any surgery.
The best results with ADR are reported in patients with degenerative disc disease. ADRs have been used for other problems like spinal stenosis but debate continues as to what patient groups can benefit most by having an ADR.
One other predictive factor of a positive outcome is a single ADR. Patients with multiple level replacements have inferior results with a higher complication rate.
So at 65 years "young" you aren't out of the running. Your best bet is to get a consultation with a surgeon who does disc replacements. You'll be interviewed and examined and then assessed for an ADR.
Christoph J. Siepe, MD, et al. Clinical Results of Total Lumbar Disc Replacement with ProDisc II. In Spine. August 1, 2006. Vol. 31. No. 17. Pp. 1923-1932
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