Whether you’ve been suffering from chronic back or neck pain for years and are looking for permanent relief, or you’ve had prior spinal surgeries and haven’t gotten the results you hoped for, you may be considering Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR). Artificial Disc Replacement is a well-studied, low-complication procedure that is an increasingly popular alternative to spinal fusion and can both help preserve the mobility of your spine and, in some cases, prevent future disc degeneration in adjacent discs. It’s also a long-term solution, with the artificial discs having been designed to last over 70 years! As a spinal neurosurgeon, Dr. Todd Lanman has been treating disc degeneration and spinal injuries for more than 30 years and has performed over 5,000 ADR surgeries, as well as served as a principal investigator on the clinical trials of these revolutionary devices. Here are the top considerations Dr. Lanman recommends keeping in mind as you select your ADR surgeon.
From the right questions to ask, to why it matters, here’s what you need to know before deciding on your ADR surgeon.
Your ADR surgeon should have significant experience in performing successful ADR surgeries (at least 50, but, optimally, this number would be in the hundreds or thousands) and have a low complication rate. It’s important to note that a spinal surgeon who is experienced in spinal fusion is not necessarily skilled in Artificial Disc Replacement, so, it’s important to seek out a surgeon who has experience in ADR for the best possible outcome.
Your surgeon should take the time to understand your complete health picture, not limited to prior spinal surgeries, injuries, or pain, but your overall health, stress and activity level, goals, and desired mobility. If you are an active person who loves to golf and bike, retaining as much spinal mobility as possible is going to be important to you. Dr. Lanman created his 4D Health Approach to comprehensively understand his patients’ health history, goals, mobility needs, past surgeries, nutrition, hormonal profile, bone density, and so much more.
This is important, because some surgeons who are experienced in spinal fusion will continue to recommend it, even when it may not be right for the patient’s activity and mobility goals. Where spinal fusion relieves pain caused by degenerative disc disease by inhibiting painful spinal movement with bone grafts, implants, and/or pedicle screws, ADR replaces the diseased disc completely, but without inhibiting spinal movement. Additionally, by taking the time to ensure they understand your unique case, there will be a reduced risk of needing a revision to your artificial disc replacement surgery, too.
Not everyone is a candidate for Artificial Disc Replacement surgery. If you have never had spinal surgery before, your surgeon should confirm that you have taken all the appropriate steps for your case to determine if there is another solution. To qualify for spinal surgery, most patients must have experienced at least 6 months of chronic neck or back pain that has not been relieved by nonsurgical interventions like physical therapy, oral analgesics or corticosteroids, heat, and maximum tolerated activity.
Even so, some patients may not be candidates for spine surgery because of damage from prior spinal surgeries, or conditions like poor bone quality, osteoporosis of the spine, (retro)vertebral compression, or ankylosing spondylitis, which can make successful spinal surgery more complex. For Dr. Lanman, these situations don’t automatically rule a patient out; he will often work with patients to improve their bone density, among other lifestyle and nutritional changes, before performing ADR when their body is optimized to respond well to the surgery.
Choosing the right ADR surgeon is so important, because of how critical the health of your spine is to your overall health and wellbeing. The result of your ADR surgery will have a profound impact on your life and your surgeon should support and encourage you as you speak to multiple surgeons, in order to find the right expert to handle your unique case. They should view their role as to guide and encourage you and recommend the best course of action for you. If you get the sense they are offended by your getting a second opinion, then they may not be the right doctor for you.
Ready to interview some spine surgeons? Here are some questions to bring to your consultations.
As a world-renowned spinal neurosurgeon and leading expert in Advanced Disc Replacement and motion preservation surgeries, and as a 3-time recipient of ADR in his own spine, Dr. Lanman deeply understands how important a mobile, pain-free spine is to our overall health and wellbeing. Dr. Lanman has been helping patients eliminate pain and restore their spinal mobility for over 30 years, utilizing a proprietary 4D Health Process to consider your age, hormonal status, and lifestyle considerations like nutrition and exercise in addition to your spine and joint health. Whether you’re just exploring options to reduce your pain associated with degenerative disc disease, or have had spinal fusion and are experiencing immobility or disease progression into adjacent disks, we are here to help. To set up a consultation, reach out to a member of our team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Lanman, founder of Lanman Spinal Neurosurgery and ADR, is a leading specialist in the advancement of spine health, spinal surgery, and restoring mobility, with a focus on 4D Health. He has led clinical trials in Advanced Disc Replacement that have led to FDA pre-market approval for devices that provide lasting pain relief for patients suffering from a spinal injury, as well as increased mobility for patients who have undergone past fusion surgeries. Named among the Top Doctors in America, as well as one of L.A’s Top Doctors by The Hollywood Reporter, Dr. Lanman is internationally renowned and sought after by professional actors, musicians, athletes, CEOs, and dignitaries, who travel thousands of miles to be treated in his care. A leading innovator in medicine, as well as a media educator and contributor, Dr. Lanman is dedicated to sharing his considerable expertise, serving as an assistant clinical professor at UCLA for over 20 years.
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