Dr. Elkanich offers total disc replacement for patients with worn out discs that are painful or arthritic. Most commonly, this is done with artificial discs that are made of metal or plastic and it is currently only an option on the lumbar region, meaning your lower back. Before suggesting total disc replacement, Dr. Elkanich will try other non-operative methods such as physical therapy, medication, and injections.

What To Expect

During a total disc replacement, you will be put under general anesthesia and lie down on your back. A small incision is made close to the belly button and your doctor will spread apart your abdominal muscles without cutting them before moving large blood vessels and the peritoneal sac to the side. With the help of retractors, Dr. Elkanich can remove the intervertebral disc with grasping and biting instruments before implanting the artificial disc carefully in place. The positioning is always confirmed before the surgery is completed, typically with a fluoroscopic x-ray.

Following a total disc replacement, you should be able to return to your home in two or four days. Before this, you will talk to occupational and physical therapists to ensure you know appropriate techniques for walking and getting out of bed without harming the surgical site. A total disc replacement has a very high success rate with almost all patients experiencing relief from their problems.