Health Beat: Artificial disc a new option for back pain

Health Beat: Artificial disc a new option for back pain

WASHINGTON - Anyone who has experienced back pain will tell you it's excruciating.

"I actually had a herniated disc that was bulging out and was about to break," detailed Fagana Stone, who was in her 20s when her back pain started. "I was hunched over. I would hold onto my knees to balance."

Her nightmare back pain only worsened after giving birth to her daughter, Leyla.

"I couldn't care for my daughter, and that was very devastating for me, because I was a first-time mom," Stone explained. "I couldn't sleep because of the pain. Hot, ice, they say use pillow between the knees. Nothing was working anymore."

She said no to traditional spinal fusion surgery, but yes to a new option: artificial disc replacement.

"I was in so much pain. You don't even think about, 'Do I want to do this?' I didn't have a choice," Stone continued.

"We come in from the front because that gives us the maximum access to the disc space and allows us to clean out the disc completely and insert the device," said Dr. Faheem A. Sandhu, the director of spine surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. "Over time, the coating on the device will actually bond to the bone and that will give a more permanent hold for the device. We try to match the space that is available to put in the right size device and that will serve as the new disc and allow for motion."

How is Stone doing now?

"I can't describe how wonderful it is to be able to go to bed without pain; to sleep through the night and to wake up without pain," detailed Stone.

Sandhu said artificial disc replacement may be performed on the lumbar region of the lower back as well as the neck.

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