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Lumbar spine disk replacement is surgery of the lower back (lumbar) area. It is done to treat spinal stenosis or disc issues and permit normal movement of the backbone.
Spinal stenosis is present when:
• The space for the spinal column is narrowed.
• The openings for the nerve roots leaving the spinal column becomes narrow, placing pressure on the nerve.
During total disk replacement (TDR), the inner portion of a damaged spinal disk is replaced with an artificial disk to restore normal movement of the backbone. Most often, surgery is done for only one disk, but at times, two levels next to each other may be replaced. The surgery is done under general anesthesia. You will be asleep and not feel any pain.
Cushion-like disks help the spine stay mobile. Nerves within the lower spine space get compressed due to:
• Narrowing of the disk due to old injuries
• Bulging of the disk (protrusion)
• Surgery for spinal stenosis may be considered if you have severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life and do not improve with other therapy.
During total disk replacement (TDR), the inner portion of a damaged spinal disk is replaced with an artificial disk to restore normal movement of the backbone.
• Pain that may be felt in your thigh, calf, lower back, shoulder, arms, or hands. The pain is often deep and steady.
• Pain when doing certain activities or moving your body a certain way.
• Numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
Talk to your health care provider about whether surgery is right for you. Not everyone with lower back pain needs surgery. Most people are first treated with medicines, physical therapy, and exercise for relief of back pain. During traditional spinal surgery for spinal stenosis, the surgeon will need to fuse some of the bones in your spine to make your spine more stable. As a result, other parts of your spine below and above the fusion may be more likely to have disk problems in the future. With disc replacement surgery, no fusion is needed. As a result, the spine on top of and below the site of surgery still has preserved movement. This movement may help prevent further disk problems.
You are not very overweight.
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You will stay in the hospital 2 to 3 days after surgery. Your provider will encourage you to stand and start walking as soon as the anesthesia wears off. You may have to wear a corset brace for support and faster healing. In the beginning, you'll be given clear liquids. You'll later progress to a liquid and semi-solid diet.
Your provider will ask you not to:
• Do any activity that stretches your spine too much
• Take part in activities that involve jarring, bending, and twisting such as driving and lifting heavy objects for at least 3 months after surgery
Follow instructions on how to take care of your back at home. You can likely return to normal activities 3 months after the surgery.
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