WHAT IS ADR?
The ADR procedure, (acronym for Artificial Disk Replacement) replaces a damaged vertebral disc with an artificial one. It may be performed on cervical (upper) or lumbar (lower) spine.
The purpose of the treatment is to alleviate back pain and provide stability without limiting the patient’s range of movement after the procedure.
WHAT IS IT FOR?
Degeneration of the intervertebral disc is either directly or indirectly the main cause of pain and disability in adults. It is estimated that 70% to 80% of people experience back pain at some time during their lives. Fortunately the majority do not need surgery to alleviate the pain. But for many people, spine disorders become a permanent chronic pathology. When back pain does not improve with conservative treatment, when non-surgical options have all been tried and the pain persists, consideration should be given to surgery.
The lumbar fusion surgery continues to be the most common option for treating back pain. Fusion is essentially a “welding” process. The basic idea is to join the painful vertebrae so that heal to form a single solid bone. Even though many patients improve with lumbar fusion, the results of the surgery may vary.
Some studies report that any lack of improvement after fusion surgery is due to the fusion preventing normal movement of the spinal column, thus forcing the column to work in a preset forced position. For this reason, artificial disk replacement (ADR), whose purpose is to preserve natural movement, has become an alternative treatment option for back or neck pain.
The purpose of the ADR procedure (Artificial Disk Replacement) is to alleviate back or cervical pain while maintaining more natural movement than that permitted by other procedures.
HOW IS ARTIFICIAL DISK REPLACEMENT PERFORMED?
The majority of artificial disk replacement procedures last 2 or 3 hours. The surgery should be performed by anterior route, through the abdomen until reaching the lumbar spine, thus enabling complete extraction of the intervertebral disc and the implantation of the new prosthesis.
THE ARTIFICIAL DISC
There are various designs for an artificial vertebral disc. Each is unique in its own way, but they all have a similar purpose: reproduce the size and function of a normal intervertebral disc. Some discs are made of metal, whereas others are a combination of metal and other materials, similar to those used to replace knee or hip joints.
Depending on the area, the pathology and the variations in size, the level and the height of the patient must be taken into consideration when selecting the ideal disc.
RECOVERY AFTER THE OPERATION
In the majority of cases, the patient remains in hospital for 1 to 3 days after artificial disk replacement (ADR). The duration of the stay will depend on the progress of the pain and the recovery of mobility.
As no bone knitting is required after artificial disc replacement, the patient is advised to first begin walking around the room and then the ward as early movement of the trunk area leads to faster rehabilitation and recovery.
During the first few weeks after surgery the patient should perform basic exercises, including walking and routine stretching. During this time, it is important to avoid any activity that could cause over-extension of the back.
Not all patients are good candidates for Artificial Disk Replacement if they have other pathologies that affect none strength or spinal column stability. Only a medical professional can determine whether you are a good candidate for disc replacement surgery.