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Disc Replacement vs. Spinal Fusion
If you’ve experienced back pain, you know how uncomfortable it can be and how much it can negatively impact your daily routine. Some people are able to control their pain through medication and improve their condition with non-invasive methods such as physical therapy. However, some patients have severe back issues which will best be treated with surgery.
Back surgery is often complex and performed as a last resort after more conservative methods have not been sufficient. An experienced and skilled physician such as spine surgeon Dr. Charla Fischer in New York City is able to evaluate your back problem and come up with a treatment plan that is ideal for you. When surgery is necessary, two of the most common types of back procedures are artificial disc replacement and spinal fusion. If appropriate, Dr. Fischer will explain both options and help you decide which to pursue.
Artificial disc replacement involves replacing the damaged disc between two vertebrae with an artificial or man-made disc. X-rays and other imaging tests are performed so the the surgeon knows exactly which disc needs replacing and the best way to access it. Often access to the spine is made through the front of the body to give the doctor the best approach to the area. Dr. Fischer takes out the damaged disc and inserts the artificial one so that it provides pain relief and may even allow you to return to your normal activities after only a few days of rest.
Spinal fusion does not require the use of any artificial disc or bone, but instead involves fusing or welding the vertebrae together. After the bones heal, the two vertebrae fully grow together to become one single bone. Dr. Fischer may approach the spine from the front, back, or a combination of both during this procedure depending on the patient’s case. Typical recovery time following spinal fusion surgery is 3 to 6 months, as time must be allowed for the bones to completely fuse together.
One of these types of back surgeries may be the answer to your back pain. Consult with Dr. Fischer to see if one is right for you.