replacement is fast overtaking traditional spinal fusion surgery as an
effective treatment for those suffering from chronic back pain due to
problems with discs in the spine.
disc replacement, worn out discs are replaced with artificial discs made
of plastic and metal. These artificial discs mimic normal spinal
movement and provide patients with greater flexibility, enabling them to
resume everyday activities upon recovery, within three to six weeks. In
spinal fusion surgery, the affected discs are removed and the adjacent
vertebrae in the spine are fused together with rods, screws and a bone
graft. Besides a longer downtime of up to nine months, additional stress
is also placed on the discs adjacent to the fused area. It is estimated
that 10-year recurrence rate of back problems after spinal fusion is
experts have expressed optimism about artificial disc replacement
treatment, especially after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
approved the use of the SB Charite artificial disc in 2004. However, it
is warn that the long-term outcomes of artificial disc replacement and
the lifespan of the discs are not well-established as yet, and doctors
should practice cautious diagnosis and treatment.
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