An injured worker scheduled for artificial disc replacement surgery may need to visit his primary care physician to obtain medical clearance for surgery. Every case is different, but if workers compensation denies covering the surgery, health insurance may pay and then may have a right to get paid back, called subrogation, out of a successful workers compensation settlement or order after hearing.
The lumbar artificial disc has several different designs. They are made of metal, ceramic, and plastic. Some look like a sandwich with two endplates separated by a plastic spacer. The two endplates are made of cobalt chromium alloy, a safe material that has been used for many years in replacement joints for the hip and knee.
Inserted between two vertebrae, the prosthesis reestablishes the height between two vertebrae. As a result of enlarging the disc space, the nearby spinal ligaments are pulled tight, which helps hold the prosthesis in place. The prosthesis is further held in place by the normal pressure through the spine.
Lumbar ADR is done through the anterior ( front) of the spine. There are usually two surgeons present; the spine surgeon and a general or vascular surgeon.
After surgery, there may be immediate relief from painful symptoms, but many people notice a gradual improvement over the next weeks to months. Many patients are able to reduce or eliminate the use of pain medication as well.
Its reported that most people recover quickly after the artificial disc procedure. After going home, a patient may be safe to sit, walk, drive, and ride a bike. Depending on the type of work you do, the doctor will determine a return to work. If your job requires moving and lifting heavy items, you may need a longer period of recovery.
The surgeon may prescribe outpatient physical therapy within one to two weeks after surgery. Active treatments are used to improve flexibility, strength, and endurance. Gentle stretching exercises for the back are commonly prescribed. You’ll begin a series of strengthening exercises to help tone and control the muscles that stabilize the trunk and back. It is also important to build strength in your legs. When your symptoms are under control and you’re comfortable doing your exercises, your formal therapy sessions will end. You’ll continue your exercises as part of a home program.
Artificial disc replacement may offer an alternative to spinal fusion for some patients who have chronic back pain from degenerative disc disease. Long-term studies to assess the safety and effectiveness of artificial disc replacements are ongoing.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin attorneys represent injured workers in Wisconsin workers compensation claim involving the lumbar spine and cervical spine.