Spine surgeons create guide to inform patients about artificial disc replacement


A group of spine surgeons created a patient guide that outlines when a person should consider artificial disc replacement and when to see a physician for herniated disc symptoms.

The guide is featured on the educational website CentersForArtificialDisc.com.

Artificial disc replacement, or motion-preservation surgery, can reduce the need for additional surgery at other levels in the neck, according to Eeric Truumees, MD, president of the North American Spine Society.

"New research documents that with an artificial disc, you are preserving motion which lessens the risk to other disc levels," Dr. Truumees said in a June 24 news release. "This is especially important in the neck as you only have six disc levels to preserve motion."

Too many spine surgeons recommend fusion and never discuss disc replacement as an option, said Michael Rohan Jr., DO, of Northwest Florida Spine in Panama City.

"Those people with arthritic knees and hips now routinely have artificial joints," Dr. Rohan said. "It's unthinkable today that surgeons would recommend fusing a knee or hip, which was the old-style treatment back in the 1930s and 1940s. We are at the same place with spine where new implant technology offers new alternatives to patients with herniated discs."

The patient guide describes the limitations of spinal fusion and explains why not every patient can qualify for disc replacement.

Click here for more details on the patient guide.

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