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Total Disc Replacement

Total Disc Replacement

Total Disc Replacement services offered in Seattle, WA

If you struggle with chronic low back pain caused by a damaged disc, it’s time to learn how a total disc replacement can ease your pain while preserving your normal spine movement. At Seattle Spine Institute, Paul E. Schwaegler, MD, and Jeff Fernandez, PA, have extensive experience with minimally invasive surgery to give you an artificial disc that eliminates pinched nerves and fully restores pain-free movement. To learn if you’re a good candidate for this innovative procedure, book an appointment online or call the office in Seattle, Washington, today.

Total Disc Replacement Q & A

What is a total disc replacement?

A total disc replacement is a procedure to remove a damaged spinal disc and replace it with a new artificial disc. The artificial disc mimics your original disc, restoring normal height, stabilizing the spine, and preserving the full range of motion.

After replacing a disc in your lumbar spine (lower back), you retain the ability to bend forward, backward, and side-to-side without pain or limitations.

When would I need a total disc replacement?

When spinal discs lose their integrity, you end up with spinal instability, pinched nerves, inflammation, and chronic pain. Seattle Spine Institute recommends a total disc replacement to treat two conditions:

Herniated disc

Discs consist of a tough, fibrous outer cover surrounding an inner nucleus made of a gel-like substance. Herniated discs occur when the outer cover develops a weak spot or tear. At first, the inner core may only push out through the weak area, pressing against the nearby nerves. But then the fluid leaks out, causing nerve irritation and inflammation.

Degenerative disc disease

Over the years, discs naturally dehydrate, dry out, and lose strength. Before long, an entire disc may weaken and collapse, a condition called degenerative disc disease.

What happens during a total disc replacement?

Dr. Schwaegler makes a small incision, removes the diseased disc, cleans away damaged cartilage, and prepares the bone for the artificial disc.

He uses the prodisc® L total disc replacement, a prosthetic designed for the lower back (lumbar spine). The prodisc L mimics the original disc’s structure, with two metal plates (resembling the outer cover) and a plastic (polyethylene) piece between them (replacing the inner core).

Each plate has teeth that hold it securely in place between the two adjacent vertebrae. After implanting the prosthetic disc, Dr. Schwaegler ensures it’s in the proper position and closes the incision.

What should I expect after a total disc replacement?

Most people go home the same day, but you’ll need to limit your activities for a time. You may need to wear a brace to limit extreme movement and protect the spine while it heals. About 2-6 weeks after surgery, you can increase your movement, and within three months, you should be back to all your usual activities.

Call Seattle Spine Institute or book an appointment online today to learn how a total disc replacement can relieve your chronic low back pain.

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