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ADR: What You Should Know

by Terry Wilson

If you suffer from chronic low back pain or neck pain due to degenerative disc disease, you may have heard of artificial disc replacement (ADR) as a possible treatment option. ADR is a type of spine surgery that involves replacing a damaged or worn-out spinal disc with an artificial one made of metal, plastic, or a combination of both.

ADR can help relieve pain, restore spinal movement, and improve your quality of life. But how does it work? What are the benefits, and who is a good candidate for this procedure? Here is some information about ADR to help you better understand it.

What Is a Spinal Disc and Why Does It Degenerate?

A spinal disc is a soft, cushion-like structure that sits between the vertebrae (bones) of your spine. It acts as a shock absorber and allows your spine to bend, twist, and move in different directions. However, over time, the disc can wear out due to aging, injury, or disease. This can cause the disc to lose its height, shape, and elasticity, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. This condition is known as degenerative disc disease (DDD).

How Does ADR Work?

ADR is a surgical procedure that aims to replace the damaged disc with an artificial one that mimics the function and motion of the natural disc. The artificial disc is usually made of metal or plastic components that are designed to fit into the space left by the removed disc. The prosthetic disc can be implanted in either the cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) spine, depending on where the problem is located.

The surgery is performed through an incision in the front of your neck or abdomen, depending on the level of your spine. The surgeon will carefully remove the damaged disc and any bone spurs or other tissue that may be compressing the nerves or spinal cord. Then, they will insert the artificial disc into the disc space and secure it with screws or other devices before closing the incision with stitches or staples.

What Are the Benefits of ADR?

ADR can preserve or restore spinal motion and flexibility, reduce stress on adjacent discs, and maintain natural spine alignment. ADR can also result in less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, and a lower risk of infection than other options like spinal fusion.

To learn more about artificial disc replacement procedures, contact your doctor.