Gundersen Lutheran Health System performing disc arthroplasty
Cutting edge back surgery relieves back pain, restores quality of life
La Crosse, Wis., November 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Neurosurgeons at Gundersen Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, Wis., offer an artificial disc replacement surgery, called disc arthroplasty, which can restore motion and improve patients’ quality of life.
The most common cause of severe, intractable back pain is degenerated discs in the back or neck. Age, genetics and everyday wear-and-tear of routine activities can contribute to damage and degeneration of the discs that cushion the bones of the spine. For some patients with degenerated discs, their back pain improves with non-surgical treatment. For many, surgery may be the only option to relieve the pain.
“For years, the only surgical option was to remove the offending disc and fuse the bones of the spine together, but this eliminates motion in the vertebra and takes away function,” explains Gundersen Lutheran neurosurgeon Drew Sullivan, MD. “Disc arthroplasty also removes the damaged disc, but instead of using metal rods, screws and bone grafts to fuse bones together, we replace the disc with a flexible implant which eases patients’ pain and restores movement to virtually normal, and may offer protection to adjacent discs.”
Disc arthroplasty can be performed for the back (lumbar) or neck (cervical). “Lumbar disc arthroplasty is an inpatient procedure and patients typically return home within two to three days. At Gundersen Lutheran, cervical disc arthroplasty is performed as a same-day surgery procedure. In both cases, patients can continue normal activity once the bone attaches to the new disc,” Sullivan comments.
This surgery has only been recently approved for general use in the United States, and Gundersen Lutheran is one of a handful of medical centers in the country with significant experience performing this procedure.
Disc arthroplasty is an option for many patients, but surgery is not an alternative for everyone. Each patient is evaluated by the Gundersen Lutheran Neurosurgery team. To learn more contact Gundersen Lutheran Neurosciences at (800) 362-9567 ext. 5900.
About Gundersen Lutheran
Headquartered in La Crosse, Wis., Gundersen Lutheran Health System is a multi-specialty group medical practice with hospitals and clinics in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa that provide emergency, specialty and primary care services. Gundersen Lutheran Health System consistently ranks in the upper 5% of hospitals in the country. To find the latest news releases, go to gundluth.org/news.