The Spine Who Loved Me
When two adjacent discs in the lower back wear out, they become compressed and cause unmanageable pain, numbness, or other symptoms. Results from a two-year post-surgery multicenter trial* recently published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery shows that replacement with artificial discs can be a viable alternative to standard fusion surgery.
Rick B. Delamarter, MD, the article’s first author, says individual patient outcomes suggest that disc replacement surgery may offer considerable advantages for patients. Compared with standard fusion surgery, disc replacement operations were quicker and resulted in less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and more rapid improvement in patients.
“Overall, 24 months after surgery, patients in both groups had less pain and were able to reduce their use of medication, but the percentages were higher in the disc replacement group,” says Dr. Delamarter. “More patients who underwent disc replacement were satisfied with their outcomes and would choose to have the surgery again.” Dr. Delamarter is vice chair for Spine Services in the Department of Surgery and co-medical director of the Spine Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.