In the United States, 58.9% of Americans say they have experienced some form of pain in the past three months.
When asked specifically where they felt pain, 39% said it was in their back. This was the most common location to experience pain, beating out pain in the limbs, head, abdomen, or teeth. Countless people live with back pain every day and they aren’t getting the treatment they need.
Dr. K. Brandon Strenge is hoping to change this. Based in Paducah, Kentucky, Dr. Strenge is an expert spine surgeon who specializes in artificial disc replacement (ADR). If you live in this area and feel pain throughout the day, Dr. Strenge is here to help. Learn more about his practice and how ADR is giving patients back their mobility and comfort.
Dr. Strenge is the founder of the Strenge Spine Center. He earned his medical degree and residency at Southern Illinois University in 2003 and then completed his fellowship in spinal surgery at the Spine Institute in Santa Monica, California in 2009. He has since developed a private practice supporting patients with a broad range of spine-related conditions to improve their mobility and quality of life. Dr. Strenge collaborates with doctors across the globe to share the latest trends in spinal surgery and develop effective implants.
Today, Dr. Strenge is the principal investigator for several clinical research trials and is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the North American Spine Society, the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, and the Southern Orthopaedic Association.
One of the key ways that Dr. Strenge helps his patients is with artificial disc replacement surgery. ADR is a process where the doctor removes any damaged or broken discs that cushion your spine. The surgeon will then insert an artificial disc where the broken disc was originally located. This artificial disc is malleable just like your human discs but is much more durable. It allows you to move as if you had a functioning disc in your body. Through ADR, patients report lower levels of back pain and can regain their range of motion during the healing process.
Doctors want to help as many patients as possible so they can live pain-free lives, but your surgeon needs to make sure you are a good candidate for this operation. They need to know that you can safely handle the procedure and the recovery process with minimal risk.
An ideal candidate is usually in good overall health. This means you shouldn’t have other conditions or take medications – like blood thinners – that could interfere with the healing process. Your doctor also will want to make sure you have a healthy weight, avoid bad habits like smoking, and are physically fit.
This will make the recovery process easier. If you are deemed a good candidate for ADR and you have already tried other non-invasive treatments for back pain, your doctor might approve you for this operation.
Every person is different, which means you might have certain symptoms related to spinal disc problems that are more prevalent than others. When you meet with Dr. Strenge, he will go over your source of discomfort and any secondary symptoms you might experience. Here are a few warning signs that you might have a damaged or broken disc:
Neck pain or stiffness Pain or stiffness in your lower back
Shooting pains that travel down your arms or legs
Numbness or tingling in your arms and legs
Reduced range of motion – inability to move your body comfortably
The source of your pain will depend on where the damaged disk is located. If your pain is around your neck (the cervical region), then you will likely experience more discomfort in your shoulders, arms, and hands. If the damaged disc is in your lower back (lumbar region) then the pain might travel down your legs.
There are several reasons to consider ADR if you currently live with back pain. Here are a few reasons why patients seek out this operation when non-invasive methods don’t work.
ADR restores range of motion and allows patients to bend, twist, and move comfortably.
This operation reduces pain levels by directly addressing the source of discomfort.
ADR is a procedure that only requires a small incision.
This operation can be completed in less than an hour and doesn’t require hospital stays.
Rather than treating the symptoms of the discomfort, ADR works to resolve the issue. This results in long-term pain reduction and improved mobility for patients who choose this operation.
The type of surgery your doctor recommends will be based on the location of your damaged discs. The various types of ADR procedures are similar but require different incision strategies and might affect the recovery process.
This operation occurs on damaged discs in your neck and shoulders. Your doctor will most likely make an incision in the front of your neck to access your spine. This allows them to avoid the nerve canal and spinal column. Even though the incision is small, you might experience a sore throat during the first few days of the recovery process.
This procedure is recommended for patients who have pain in their lower back. Your doctor will also try to avoid your spinal column with this operation by making an incision in your abdomen. After this operation, your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to rest, walk, and move around during the healing process.
Many patients are more comfortable agreeing to ADR if they understand the preparation, operation, and recovery processes. Here’s what you need to know as a patient and how your doctor will approach your operation.
Before the operation, Dr. Strenge will ask about any medications you are on. He might ask you to stop taking certain medications in the days leading up to surgery, this way they won’t interfere with the procedure. The morning of your disc replacement, he will ask you to fast. This means avoiding any food or drinks other than water for eight hours before your operation. This helps with the anesthesia.
You will be asleep for the procedure. The entire operation should take about an hour and the medical team will let you rest for a few hours after. Once Dr. Strenge and his staff confirm that the operation was successful and you are in good health, you will be discharged from the clinic. You do not need to check into a hospital or stay overnight. Dr. Strenge will confirm that you have a safe ride home with a trusted friend or family member, who can also care for you during the recovery process.
Feel free to ask as many questions as you need to before the operation. Dr. Strenge and his team are there to make sure you feel confident and safe under their care.
Disc replacement is a modern alternative to spinal fusion. Historically, surgeons would remove broken discs and then fuse the vertebrae together to prevent pain. This was a much more invasive operation because the doctor needed to insert rods into the spine. Fusion also limited the patient’s ability to move because the vertebrae could no longer bend naturally.
While fusion is still practiced today and occasionally recommended to patients, disc replacement is becoming a more common and preferred operation. The artificial discs allow patients to maintain their range of motion because they are similar to those in the human body. This is also a less invasive operation which means patients can heal faster, experience fewer complications, and notice reductions in their pain levels sooner.
ADR has a high success rate according to multiple studies. One researcher curated several different ADR studies and found success rates up to 93% for good to excellent outcomes. Of the studies that tracked return-to-work rates, 65.9% of patients said they had full or part-time jobs following this surgery.
While no doctor can guarantee a completely successful operation and full recovery, you can take steps to increase your chances of a good outcome. First, working with an experienced surgeon like Dr. Strenge can help you trust your medical staff. Dr. Strenge keeps up with the latest implants and technology to further reduce patient risk and complications. Next, follow your recovery instructions carefully. You play a major role in building back your mobility and preventing an infection at the incision site.
Together, you and your doctor can take steps to enjoy a positive outcome after your disc replacement operation.
Not all spinal surgery requires disc replacement. Depending on your condition, Dr. Strenge might recommend alternative treatments or operations to reduce your pain levels. One option is minimally invasive spinal surgery. This operation is just as effective as any other procedure and comes with reduced risk and lower recovery times. You might not need a larger operation to address your back pain.
Dr. Strenge might also recommend other motion-preserving procedures that can make your life more comfortable. He might suggest spine-stabilizing operations or procedures to address conditions like scoliosis if you have it.
Dr. Strenge has extensive experience in treating a wide variety of spinal conditions. If you live with back pain or discomfort, he can get to the root cause of the issue and develop a treatment plan.
Dr. Strenge’s practice is located in Paducah, Kentucky. He meets with a wide range of patients who experience a variety of back problems. If you have lived with back pain for a few months now and notice that it is getting worse, contact Dr. Strenge. Request a consultation and discuss your concerns. He will listen carefully to your symptoms, perform a comprehensive examination, and take steps to secure a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Dr. Strenge is committed to following the latest developments in artificial disc replacement. When you contact his office, you can feel confident that you are working with a doctor who uses the latest methods and technology to restore patient mobility and reduce pain.
Your life awaits. Schedule your consultation at one of our premier locations today.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA | @ADRSPINE