More recently a variety of arthroplasty techniques have been developed as alternatives to spinal fusion. This discussion will focus on total intervertebral disc replacement, which has become increasingly popular. Its purpose is to relieve nerve root irritation or alleviate the compression caused by the materials of a herniated disc, as well as to restore disc height in order to protect neural elements, thereby providing pain relief and retained spinal motion (to prevent posterior facet arthropathy and adjacent segment disease) , and restoring function.
Intervertebral disc replacement offers some advantages over arthrodesis. Because of the small incision site and reduced operative time, blood loss, hospital stay, recovery time, and rehabilitative time are reduced, and there is likely to be less postoperative pain and other operative complications. It aims to decrease problems with adjacent vertebral segment degeneration, avoids complications with more invasive fusion surgeries, and allows earlier return to activities. This may be ideal for patients who are elderly, with comorbid conditions, or who are younger and more active.
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