Artificial disc replacement: new option for back pain

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) Anyone who has experienced back pain will tell you it’s excruciating. As the discs in our backs age, they can bulge and compress spinal nerves. In the past, fusion surgery was the only option, but that led to limited movement. Now surgeons and patients have a potentially huge new option for a pain-free life.

“I actually had a herniated disc that was bulging out and was about to break,” detailed Fagana Stone.

Stone was in her twenties when her back pain started.

Stone told Ivanhoe, “I was hunched over. I would hold onto my knees to balance.”

Her nightmare back pain only worsened after giving birth to her daughter, Leyla.

Stone explained, “I couldn’t care for my daughter and that was very devastating for me because I was a first-time mom. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. Hot, ice, they say use pillow between the knees. Nothing was working anymore.”

She said no to traditional spinal fusion surgery, but yes to a new option: artificial disc replacement.

Stone continued, “I was in so much pain. You don’t even think about. Do I want to do this? I didn’t have a choice.”

Faheem A. Sandhu, MD, Director of Spine Surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, in Washington D.C., explained, “We come in from the front because that gives us the maximum access to the disc space and allows us to clean out the disc completely and insert the device. Over time, the coating on the device will actually bond to the bone and that will give a more permanent hold for the device. We try to match the space that is available to put in the right size device and that will serve as the new disc and allow for motion.”

How is Stone doing now?

“I can’t describe how wonderful it is to be able to go to bed without pain; to sleep through the night and to wake up without pain,” detailed Stone.

Dr. Sandhu said artificial disc replacement may be performed on the lumbar region of the lower back as well as the neck.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Tim Matkosky, Videographer.

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