Disc Replacement

You live a busy, active life. Over time, the wear and tear of daily living or even a sudden injury can harm the discs in your spine, causing pain and discomfort. Perhaps it’s time to explore the advantages of disc replacement surgery at The Spine Center of Baton Rouge. Their skilled team of orthopedic surgeons include Dr. Kevin P. McCarthy and Dr. C. Chambliss Harrod. They can help you decide whether disc replacement can help you feel like yourself again. The practice offers three convenient locations in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana. Call or schedule an online consultation today.

Disc Replacement Q & A

What is disc replacement?

Disc replacement is a two step process. It involves removing a damaged disc in your spine and replacing it with one made of metal or a mix of metal and plastic.

Your spine is constructed of a column of vertebrae, with discs in between the vertebrae. The discs work like cushions, allowing you to move and rotate your back, while preventing vertebrae from rubbing against each other.

Over time, wear and tear can damage the discs. The discs stop cushioning your bones the way they’re supposed to. Often, this results in lower back pain. When this happens, you might need disc replacement surgery.

How do I know if I need disc replacement?

Lower back pain doesn’t make you an immediate candidate for disc replacement. The doctors at The Spine Center of Baton Rouge will first see if other treatments can help ease your pain before recommending surgery.

There are also other factors to consider. Disc replacement might be right for you if:

  • Your back pain is caused by just one or two discs in your lower spine
  • You don’t have nerve compression or joint disease in your spine
  • You’re not extremely overweight
  • You haven’t had spinal surgery before
  • You don’t have spinal conditions like scoliosis

What should I expect during disc replacement?

Disc replacement surgery is typically performed in a hospital. The surgery requires general anesthesia, so you won’t be awake during the procedure.

Dr. McCarthy or Dr. Harrod will typically perform your surgery. To begin, they make a small incision in your abdomen and move aside your internal organs to clearly see your spine. Then, the doctor replaces the damaged disc with the new replacement disc and closes the opening.

After surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for a day or two, but you should be able to stand and walk the day after surgery.

What should I expect after disc replacement?

Physical therapy is essential to help you bounce back after surgery. The physical therapy team at The Spine Center of Baton Rouge teaches you exercises, such as gentle trunk twists to keep your spine limber.

As you heal, you’ll also be encouraged to perform stretches and to walk. However, you’ll want to avoid jolting or jarring motions for quite a while. Depending on your condition, a full recovery can take a few weeks or up to a few months.

If you’re ready to see whether disc replacement is right for you, call or schedule an online consultation today with the experts in comprehensive spinal care at The Spine Center of Baton Rouge.