Lumbar disc replacement is the process of removing worn or damaged discs that are found in your lower spine. The human spine is made up of multiple vertebrae that are stacked against each other, and in between each vertebra is a spinal disc. This disc is made up of pliable material that protects your bones from rubbing against each other and allows you to be mobile, so you can bend, twist, and turn your back comfortably.
When these discs get worn down, you can experience severe pain. A disc replacement removes the worn discs and replaces them with artificial models – reducing pain and restoring mobility. This procedure refers specifically to the lumbar bones in the lower part of your back.
Dr. Todd H. Lanman has been performing lumbar disc replacements in Beverly Hills for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center and works with Hollywood celebrities and C-Suite executives. His extensive experience makes him one of the most sought-after spinal surgeons in the country. If you believe you may be a candidate for lumbar disc replacement surgery, Dr. Lanman will provide a comprehensive consultation to determine the best course of treatment for you.
Lumbar disc replacement is often used to treat lower back pain. Pain comes in many forms. You may experience chronic pain throughout the day, with a constant throbbing in your lower back, which has no immediate causes and is difficult to alleviate. Alternatively, some patients experience sharp, sudden pains that affect them during different times of the day – they might be resting at home or going for a walk when a sudden flare-up leaves them in pain.
When you meet with Dr. Lanman, it’s important to discuss the kinds of pain you experience. Explain when you experience pain, what it feels like, and how severe it is. This will allow him to explore conditions that require a lumbar disc replacement.
The main condition that is treated by lumbar disc replacement is degenerative disc disease (DDD). This occurs when the discs in your spine break or wear down, leaving you in pain. There are many causes of DDD. Genetically, you may be more prone to wear in your spine, so even if you live an active lifestyle and are otherwise healthy, you may feel back pain. DDD can also come from an accident or injury, which causes a disc to break. For example, someone with a herniated disc may live in pain and need lumbar disc replacement surgery.
When you meet with Dr. Lanman, he will evaluate your pain and work to identify the cause. If the pain comes mostly from one to two discs in your lower spine, he may recommend lumbar disc replacement surgery.
Many doctors, including Dr. Lanman, are hesitant to immediately recommend surgery for patients. While Lumbar Disc Replacement is safe and effective, it is still a surgical procedure. Your doctor will likely look for alternative forms of treatment to alleviate your pain while maintaining your mobility. These include over-the-counter pain medication and physical therapy exercises. If you can build up the muscles in your back and adjust your posture to alleviate pressure from your spine, you may be able to avoid surgery.
In the days before surgery, Dr. Lanman will give you clear instructions on how to prepare. You may be asked to quit smoking before surgery and will be asked to change certain lifestyle factors ahead of the procedure. Tell your doctor about any medications that you are on or drugs that you take. These can interfere with the medication prescribed for your aftercare, potentially leaving you in pain. Some medications will also cancel each other out, so you could end up with other unwanted side effects if you aren’t clear about your medication usage.
In the 8 hours before surgery, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything due to the use of anesthesia. Your doctor will confirm that you have someone to bring you home after the procedure. After your lumbar disc replacement surgery, you may need help caring for yourself. Basic tasks like using the bathroom or bathing may be difficult for the first few days or weeks. Dr. Lanman wants to make sure you are cared for during this recovery time so you can heal comfortably and safely.
You will be given general anesthesia for your lumbar disc replacement surgery. Even though technology has advanced significantly in this operation over the past few years (and Dr. Lanman uses the best techniques possible) this is still considered an invasive procedure.
Once you are under anesthesia and lying on your back, Dr. Lanman will make an incision in your abdomen and move your organs to the side in order to gain access to your spine. It is easier to get to the spine – and specifically your spinal discs – through your abdomen than directly through your back. Through this incision, Dr. Lanman will remove your broken or damaged discs and then insert the artificial replacements. Your organs will then be restored to their original place and the incision will be closed.
The whole procedure only takes a few hours and you will be taken to the recovery room while your anesthesia wears off. Once you are fully awake, you will continue your recovery for a few hours until you are ready to go home.
The nursing staff wants to make sure you have recovered from the procedure while keeping the risk of infection low. Dr. Lanman may come by the check on you after surgery to make sure you can move around. Once you are stable, the staff will release you to continue in the recovery process from your own home.
While most patients only need to spend a few hours or a day in the surgery center following lumbar disc replacement surgery, the total recovery time is several months after this procedure. The pain levels will vary depending on each patient, which means you may feel comfortable after a longer or shorter period of time.
The nursing staff at your hospital will check to make sure you can stand and walk after surgery. They may recommend using a cane or walker for the first few days or weeks after your operation. Dr. Lanman will also provide an aftercare guide to help you get back on your feet. A few recommendations to help with the post-op recovery include:
Throughout the recovery process, you will be in contact with Dr. Lanman. He may recommend multiple follow-up appointments to check on your mobility and pain levels. By clearly communicating any problems you have, Dr. Lanman can adjust your treatment so it is more effective. If you are still in pain or can’t move following surgery, your doctor needs to know.
Everyone heals at different rates. However, by following the aftercare guidelines carefully, you can increase the chances that you recover faster and can return to your favorite activities.
If you experience back pain, whether it is a dull throb or sudden pangs, set up a consultation with Dr. Lanman. He will work to diagnose the source of the pain and identify ways to help you heal. If you are experiencing Degenerative Disc Disease in your lower back, Dr. Lanman may recommend lumbar disc replacement surgery and, if so, he will walk you through the process in detail and answer any questions you have.
Request an appointment with Dr. Lanman, or his clinical partner Dr. Jason Cuéllar, today. The Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center is currently accepting patients in Beverly Hills, California, and Miami, Florida.