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How Disc Replacement Can Restore Your Pain-free Movement

You’ve been hobbled by disc problems in your neck or lower back and you want a meaningful and long-term solution. Disc replacement surgery may be just the answer — and, here’s why.

You used to jump out of the bed, ready to take on the world, but now back or neck pain has made your world much smaller. If you’re tired of living in discomfort and you want a solution that offers long-term and meaningful results, it may be time to explore disc replacement surgery.

At our practice, Dr. Ali H. Mesiwala and our team excel in spine-related surgery, and we’ve helped scores of our patients regain pain-free movement through disc replacement surgery.

Here, we review how this procedure can help relieve pain and other symptoms, as well as how we determine whether you’re a candidate for disc replacement surgery.

Disc replacement surgery at a glance

When you have a severely damaged disc that’s causing pain and other problems, such as numbness and tingling in your extremities, there are two ways we can help relieve your symptoms surgically:

  1. Spinal fusion — we remove the damaged disc and fuse the vertebrae together
  2. Artificial disc replacement (ADR) — we remove the damaged disc and replace it with an artificial disc

While both procedures can be effective in helping you find long-lasting relief, spinal fusion can limit your movement somewhat since we’re connecting two previously separated vertebrae.

With an ADR, the replacement disc acts much like your original disc, providing support and allowing full movement among the vertebrae in your neck or back. 

If an ADR sounds like an extensive procedure, you may be surprised to learn that we perform it on an outpatient basis, which means you’re free to go home the same day.

Dr. Mesiwala has been performing cervical and lumbar disc replacement surgeries since 2008, and he takes the most minimally invasive approach possible. For example, Dr. Mesiwala only makes very small incisions, through which he inserts a camera and specialized instruments that allow him to both remove and replace your disc. At the same time, he also removes any problematic bone fragments or other “debris” that may be irritating your nerves.

In using these minimally invasive techniques, Dr. Mesiwala can reduce your surgical risks and your recovery time.

Are you a candidate for disc replacement surgery?

Under normal circumstances, the intervertebral discs that are positioned between your vertebrae help to cushion your spine, provide shock absorption, and enable easy movement. If one of these discs breaks down, usually due to degenerative disc disease, your spinal nerves can become irritated, causing symptoms that range from pain to numbness and weakness.

As well, the loss of the disc support can also lead to arthritis in your spine as your facet joints are forced to work harder.

To give you an idea about how prevalent these conditions are, one report found that, “one-third of people 40-59 years have image-based evidence of moderate to severe degenerative disc disease and more than half had moderate to severe spinal osteoarthritis.”

In most cases, this disc damage occurs in the two areas of your spine that enjoy the most movement — your lower back and your neck.

Unfortunately, degenerative disc disease and arthritis are both progressive, which means the problem will likely only get worse.

If you’ve been struggling with the effects of degenerative disc disease and conservative treatments aren't providing you with any meaningful relief or quality of life, it may be time to take a closer look at disc replacement surgery. 

To get started, contact one of our offices in Newport Beach, Marina del Rey, Rancho Cucamonga, or San Bernardino, California, to set up an appointment.