Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Ashraf F. Guirgues, MD, FAAOS
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery & Robotic Surgery located in Morehead City, NC, Jacksonville, NC & Swansboro, NC
Conditions like degenerative disc disease and herniated discs often cause chronic back or neck pain that conservative treatments can't relieve. If you're in need of a better solution to your pain, board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon Ashraf Guirgues, MD, and the team at Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery can help. They specialize in performing minimally invasive artificial disc replacement to address pain without limiting function. Find out how you could benefit from the team's expertise by calling the Morehead City, Swansboro, or Jacksonville, North Carolina, location, or use the online booking tool today.
Disc Replacement Q&A
What is disc replacement?
Disc replacement is a treatment the Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery team might recommend if you have a painful bulging or herniated disc in your spine. The team can replace discs in your cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back).
The shock-absorbent discs between each of your vertebrae have a soft center and a tough outer coating. If the outer part of a disc weakens, the jelly-like center can push through the weakened area, creating a bulging or herniated disc.
You might develop a herniated disc if you have a condition like degenerative disc disease, or it could be a result of a severe injury where your spine comes under great pressure. If the damaged disc presses on any spinal nerves, it can cause disabling pain.
You might also feel tingling, prickling, numbness, or a "pins-and-needles" sensation, as well, depending on which nerves the disc is pressing on. Artificial disc replacement is an option for people who have persistent back or neck pain due to a herniated disc.
Could I benefit from disc replacement surgery?
Before considering disc replacement surgery, the Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery encourages patients to complete a program of non-surgical treatments.
Therapies that often help patients recover from a herniated disc without the need for surgery include physical therapy, medication, and activity modification. When these approaches aren't sufficient to resolve your back or neck pain, epidural steroid injections might help.
Only when these treatments aren't reducing your pain after several months should you consider a surgical solution like artificial disc replacement.
Is disc replacement the best surgical option for a herniated disc?
Artificial disc replacement isn't the only option for surgically treating herniated discs, but it does have some advantages.
The traditional approach to treating damaged discs is spinal fusion. In this procedure, your surgeon removes the herniated disc and fuses the vertebrae on either side to form a solid unit. Fusion is an effective method of relieving back or neck pain caused by herniated discs, but the key disadvantage is that you lose range of motion in the fused part of your spine.
Disc replacement avoids this issue by simulating the natural movement of your spine. You might not have quite the range of motion you'd have in an untreated spine, but significantly more than you would after spinal fusion. Artificial discs are also becoming increasingly sophisticated and better able to mimic normal spinal function.
What other benefits are there for artificial disc replacement?
Other benefits of artificial disc replacement are that, in many cases, the Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery team can perform disc replacement surgery using minimally invasive techniques.
These methods cause less tissue damage, bleeding, scarring, and pain, and you can return to an active life much sooner.
If you want to find out more about artificial disc replacement, call Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery today or book an appointment online.