Degenerative Disc Diseases (DDD) can occur due to genetic, age and lifestyle factors and in such cases, the discs that cushion the vertebrae suffer from damage, resulting in chronic back pain. Once the disc pain diagnosis is complete and an artificial disc replacement surgery has been recommended by your doctor, it is time for you to undergo pre disc replacement procedures. These mirror the normal precautions that you would have to take before any surgery.
Pre Disc Replacement Knowhow for DDD Patients
Spinal Fusion and Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR) are the two procedures that are used to treat Degenerative Disc Disease. As Spinal Fusion results in significant loss of mobility, modern medicine is turning increasingly to ADR. During ADR, an artificial disc is used to replace the worn out disc.
The surgery lasts a few hours and the pre disc replacement procedures that should be followed have been given below.
Pre Disc Replacement Preparation – Long Term Factors
(i) Selecting the right disc is very important and FDA approved discs are now available and are often recommended by surgeons.
(ii) The device used during ADR will be a permanent part of your body and such devices will be available in various designs. However, it will make sense for you to go in for the tried and tested ones.
(iii) While selecting the disc, check out what can be done in case the ADR procedure is a failure. Such cases are extremely rare, but it is important to consider the fact during pre disc replacement planning. It will help you make the right choice.
Pre Disc Replacement Preparation – Before the D Day
(i) Get Fit and Cracking:
Getting into shape before disc replacement surgery is a good idea. Increased levels of fitness will allow you to recover faster from the surgery. Speak to your surgeon or general physician about what physical fitness regime would suit you the best. Since you are already suffering from DDD, it is imperative that you get expert advice and not embark on a fitness program on your own initiative. Normally recommended activities including cycling, walking and swimming.
(ii) Avoid Smoking and Drinking:
Getting your body in peak physical shape would also mean giving up smoking and alcohol. Both these practices increase the risk factor during a surgery. Your doctor may advice you to give up smoking at least two weeks before the surgery to eliminate the possibility of heart and lung complications. Tobacco interferes with anesthesia and studies also indicate that smoking reduces the chances of success in spinal operations.
(iii) Get A Medical Checkup:
Get a general health check up from either your primary care physician or an internal medicine MD. It will give your surgeon an idea about your general medical condition and any extra care or precaution that needs to be taken during the surgical procedure.
(iv) Review Your Drug Intake:
If you are under medication for heart, diabetes or high blood pressure related ailments, your doctors are likely to make some changes to your drug intake. Do not take any anti-inflammatory drugs for 10 days before the surgery as a pre disc replacement measure. If you have your doubts about any medication, check with your doctor.
(v) Donate Blood in Advance:
You will have to donate a unit or two of blood. This is done so that your own blood can be used in case you require a transfusion either during or after your surgery. Until then, the blood will be stored at the blood bank.
(vi) Consult the Staff:
A consultation with your anesthetist is required. He will evaluate you and give you a briefing on the kind of anesthetic that would be required for the surgery. If you are diabetic, your glucose levels will have to be closely monitored during the week before the surgery.
(vii) Be Mentally Prepared:
Prepare yourself mentally for the surgery. Read up about the procedure and what it entails in terms of quick recovery. This will put you in a positive frame of mind. There are also online support groups available where you can share stories with other ADR patients for your pre disc replacement preparation.
Pre Disc Replacement Preparation – The Final 24 Hours
(i) Do not eat or drink anything the night before the surgery.
(ii) You may be given treatment to clear your bowels. However, this is not rigorously followed by all surgeons.
(iii) Get yourself admitted to the hospital on the morning of the surgery for all the pre-operative tests.
Artificial disk replacement surgery can bring relief from the pain that afflicts most patients with Degenerative Disc Diseases. The better your pre disc replacement preparation, the faster your disc replacement surgery recovery is likely to be. Disc replacement preparations are very simple and basic and following them rigorously will not really inconvenience you, even as it boosts up your recovery rate.