NHS Disc Surgery

NHS Disc Surgery

Aging weakens people’s once agile bodies, and with it come several complications.  One of the most common complications affecting most of the aging generation today is degenerative disc disease.  Degenerative Disc Disease abbreviated as DDD is a complication brought about by the effects of aging on the spine.  The intervertebral disc in people’s necks and lower backs dehydrate as they age, becoming stiff and rigid thereby causing a lot of pain.  The degeneration causes flattening of the discs, which may eventually crack.  

The name degenerative disc disease sounds very threatening to most that are diagnosed with it. However it is not as fatal as it sounds and quite interestingly it is not a disease but a condition. In addition, this condition varies per person in its nature and severity. Even better, it is treatable and by various methods according to the severity of the condition, treatment being available through the NHS.

Getting Help through NHS Disc Surgery

Surgery as a method of treatment is recommended for persons experiencing chronic back or neck pain which makes them unable to perform their day-to-day functions normally. It is necessary that before you resort to surgery your doctor confirms you as a potential candidate for the procedure. Ensure that you visit one of the health facilities available to get an MRI scan that helps the doctor assess the possibilities of benefitting from the NHS disc surgery.

The two main surgery method options that are recommended for patients to whom conservative treatment has not worked are fusion surgery and artificial disc replacement. Both are NHS disc surgery methods.

NHS Disc Surgery - Fusion Surgery

This is a complicated and long surgical procedure that usually lasts 3-4 hours but is painless for patients as they are under a general anaesthetic. The surgeon performs a discectomy to fuse the vertebrae and then uses bone graft, metal implant or more commonly, a plastic spacer to facilitate the latter bone’s growing process. Recovery and rehabilitation lasts for a long time; usually an average of 15 months. Bed rest of 3-4 days is mandatory after the procedure and the spine should be well aligned. After the procedure, one should move out of bed using the log technique to avoid bending the spine.

NHS Disc Surgery - Artificial Disc Replacement

The other type of surgery that has recently gained popularity is artificial disc replacement. Unlike fusion surgery where the disc space is fused, the worn out disc is replaced with an artificial one, a mixture of metal and polyethylene. This new method that was approved years back has gained popularity recently due to the fact that it is perceived to be better in that there is a reduced chance of the spine breaking down because of increased stress levels. It is the preferred method especially in the case of DDD due to its theoretical benefits which include better success in levels of pain reduction and, as the procedure maintains spinal motion, it prevents premature degeneration at adjacent levels of the spine.

NHS disc surgery is a viable option for many who do not have the insurance to receive private treatment care.