Artificial Disc Replacement

Itay Melamed, MD -  - Neurosurgeon

Advanced Brain & Spine

Itay Melamed, MD

Neurosurgeon located in Centennial, CO & Wheat Ridge, CO

Artificial Disc Replacement Specialist
If you have chronic lower back pain that radiates into one of your legs, or persistent neck pain that extends through your shoulder and into your arm, you may have a worn or damaged spinal disc. Artificial disc replacement is a state-of-the-art surgical procedure designed to relieve pain while maintaining normal spinal motion. At Advanced Brain & Spine in Centennial and Wheat Ridge, Colorado, board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Itay Melamed offers artificial disc replacement for Denver-area patients with serious spinal disc problems. If you’d like to learn more, call or book your appointment online today.

Artificial Disc Replacement Q&A

by Itay Melamed, MD

Click here to watch a video on the process Dr. Melamed uses.

What is artificial disc replacement?

Artificial disc replacement surgery offers long-term pain relief for patients with severely worn or damaged spinal discs. This minimally invasive surgery replaces painful discs that are beyond repair with artificial ones. Artificial disc replacement may be performed on the cervical spine in your neck or the lumbar spine in your lower back.

Unlike spinal fusion techniques, which address disc problems but limit spinal movement, artificial disc replacement preserves joint motion because it doesn’t require the two vertebrae on either side of the artificial disc to fuse into one solid unit.

Why might I need an artificial disc replacement?

An artificial disc replacement can be a viable option for several persistent spinal disc problems, including:

Bulging discs

A disc that has pushed outside of its designated space in the spinal canal can put pressure on nerves and cause pain; left untreated, it may rupture.

Herniated discs

A disc that cracks and oozes some of its soft, interior gel has herniated or ruptured; a herniated disc can affect nearby nerves and may cause burning pain from your lower back down into your legs.

Degenerated discs

A disc that’s affected by age-related degeneration may have low fluid or a tear in its tough exterior; it can also be accompanied by bone spurs on the spine.

Because these disc problems can cause a wide variety of symptoms, correcting an ongoing disc condition with an artificial replacement can help relieve:

  • Neck and shoulder pain (cervical radiculopathy)
  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatic nerve pain
  • Knee pain
  • Numbness and tingling in your legs

Am I a good candidate for artificial disc replacement?

If your disc problems don’t respond to conservative treatments like physical therapy, massage, chiropractic care, or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications, artificial disc replacement may be a viable option for you.

To determine whether you’re a good candidate for disc replacement, Dr. Melamed may require a few diagnostic imaging tests, such as an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray. Even if these tests reveal that problematic discs are the underlying cause of your neck or back pain, you still need to meet additional criteria to have the surgery:

  • You don’t have any spinal deformities, such as scoliosis
  • You haven’t had any previous major surgeries on your spine
  • You don’t have significant facet joint disease
  • You don’t have any bony compressions on your spinal nerves
  • You’re not obese or excessively overweight
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