Disc replacement surgery is the process of replacing old, worn out discs with a replacement disc made of material that extends the life of the spine. Surgery is ideal for patients who are living with degenerative disc disease and other conditions where there is compression to the spine ligaments, and where conservative treatments have brought no satisfactory results. In short, where a person still experiences lots of pain and finds it difficult to get on with normal everyday tasks, such as walking, sitting, standing and generally manoeuvring around, disc replacement surgery may be an option considered by our Harley Street spine specialists.
Artificial Disc Replacement surgery has been around in Europe for more than 15 years. Our own specialist consultant surgeon Dr Mo Akmal has been carrying out this procedure since it was first invented and has been able to achieve exceptional results for patients. Drawing on his expertise in both osteopathy and neuropathy, Dr Akmal has seen dramatic results in pain reduction and increased mobility in his patients yet is also always careful to stress that success for this type of surgery does not necessarily mean that pain will disappear altogether. This is often due to structural and behavioural changes in the ligaments, spinal processes and nerves as a result of living with the condition for many years. As a consequence, a person may still experience some pain, or experience phantom (non-mechanical) pain, even though the degenerated or diseased disc has been replaced. For this reason, we tend to speak of success rates of between 70 and 96 percent.
Disc replacement surgery nevertheless has higher success rates than fusion surgery, rated at around 50 to 55 percent. Fusion surgery can also leave patients with pain from the vertebral bone harvesting in the hip.
The key to successful artificial disc replacement surgery begins with good pre-op testing and diagnosis. Our specialist consultants will therefore first spend much time studying your x-rays, CT or MRI scans to gain a full picture of your condition. Only then can we plan an approach to surgery that will give a patient the best possible outcome. Once satisfied our team of surgeons will perform the following steps:
Once replaced, the artificial discs work to mimic the properties and function of the natural spinal disc. The main benefit of artificial disc replacement operation is that there are no risks associated with bone grafting. A patient will need to manage post-op pain for the long-term success of the artificial disc procedure, as phantom pain can be mitigated or stopped.
The London Spine Unit was established in 2005 and has successfully treated over 5000 patients. All conditions are treated.
The London Spine Unit specialises in Minimally Invasive Treatments allowing rapid recovery and return to normal function
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