Most forms of back and neck surgery are designed to relieve pain and pressure on your existing lumbar and cervical discs. But some patients experience a new or worsening pain after back surgery recovery. When we treat those with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) here at Spine Center Atlanta, we look closely to see the specific cause, and why the pain came back despite treatment.
In some cases, we may find that either the disc that was operated on or an adjacent disc near the surgical site has been damaged. While there are many treatment options to consider, we may determine that it is necessary for total disc replacement surgery using an artificial disc.
When Is Disc Replacement Surgery Necessary After FBSS?
As surgeons that specialize in the treatment of failed back surgery, we most often find that disc replacement is necessary when the disc has experienced some type of substantial damage or degradation. Usually, although not always, the damage is related to poor candidate selection.
Different types of surgeries, like spinal fusion, help reduce pressure in one disc while adding pressure in others. If the patient already had severe degradation in other areas of the spine, it is possible for the adjacent discs to be severely damaged. It is also possible that disc replacement was necessary all along, but the patient’s pain was misdiagnosed. This is why candidate selection is so critical.
That said, disc replacement may be necessary for a variety of different reasons unrelated to candidate selection or the quality of the surgery. In some cases, even a perfect surgery on a perfect patient may still lead to FBSS, and ultimately disc replacement surgery.
Candidates For Disc Replacement After Failed Back Surgery
Artificial disc replacement is only used on patients that meet specific criteria. These include, but are not limited to:
- Limited Disc Damage – Generally, artificial disc replacement is only used on patients with a single damaged disc, and only one cause of pain.
- Healthy Spine – Artificial disc replacement is not used on patients with scoliosis, or those with disc compression and/or joint issues. Artificial discs are preferred for patients unlikely to experience recurrent pain after installing the hardware.
- Good Lifestyle Habits – Artificial discs are more likely to be considered an appropriate treatment for non-smokers, those with healthy body weight, and those that seem likely to follow recovery guidelines.
Both cervical disc replacement and lumbar disc replacement after failed spine surgery are only recommended when a disc is of the appropriate size and shape. Not all artificial discs fit all patients. This is another reason patient selection is so critical.
Do You Need An Artificial Disc?
Any time a patient experiences pain after back surgery, a thorough diagnosis is necessary. Artificial disc replacement is only one of many different surgical revisions and non-surgical treatments available for patients that qualify. But the criteria to determine if disc replacement is the right choice is very strict.
Here at Spine Center Atlanta, Dr. James Chappuis, Dr. Julio Petilon, and their team are nationally recognized experts, known for their work with failed back surgery diagnosis and treatment. Our patients come from across the United States, seeking relief from their recurrent back pain and treatment that may work.
For those interested in learning more about our FBSS diagnosis and treatment services, please call us today at 404-351-5812.