By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Cash, MD
This is a surgical procedure on the back (first performed in the 1950s) that removes a portion of a herniated or degenerative disc from the back and replaced with an implant. The surgery is completed through an incision in the abdomen and removes the affected disc. When the disc is removed, you will have an empty space where the disc was, so to fill it in, the doctor will use a bone graft to fill the empty space. This will create a connection – a spinal fusion – between vertebrae and once the healing process begins, new bone cells will fuse the bones together and eventually, there will be one solid bone there.
There are 3 different types of bone grafts and based on your condition and situation, your doctor will determine which one is best for you. The first is bone that comes from your body. There is also bone that comes from a donor, or a bone graft substitute that is usually made of plastic, ceramic, or other absorbable compounds that work to help regrow bone where the discs have been removed.
After the surgery, you will usually need to stay in the hospital for several days; however, the length of your stay is dependent on your situation and the treatment plan that your surgeon has for you. You will likely be in a very restricted activity schedule, but your doctor will usually designate some physical therapy or light exercise routines to help get your back strong and back to normal flexibility as soon as possible.
For more information, contact Dr. Cash for an appointment at www.disclv.com.