I saw an ad for artificial disc replacement saying, "Natural motion is back." I've had chronic back pain for 10 years. Could something like this help me?
Artificial disc replacement (ADR) is the latest treatment option for some back pain patients. Use of ADRs is limited to patients with degenerative disc disease at one level between L4 and S1. There can't be any deformity of the bone or neurologic problems.
The advantage of ADR over spinal fusion is the restoration of motion. ADRs are designed to allow close to normal motion of the spinal segment. Yet data from studies done so far show that more than one-third have about the same motion as a spinal fusion. Such a result is considered a failure by some.
Pain relief isn't always a benefit of this operation. According to a recent study, even patients with a successful result are often still on narcotic medication.
Despite all these warnings, you may be a good candidate. Seek out an orthopedic surgeon who is trained and qualified to perform this operation. Find out what your chances are for this treatment and for a good result.
Sohail K. Mirza, MD, MPH. Point of View: Commentary on the Research Reports that Led to Food and Drug Administration Approval of an Artificial Disc. In Spine. July 15, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 14. Pp. 1561-1564.
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