nce one of the nation’s only medical groups to offer a full range of services to treat back and neck pain, Texas Back Institute is recognized as a world leader in getting people back to life, most without surgery. In fact, nine out of 10 of our patients recover without it. Texas Back Institute’s “surgery as a last option” approach to back pain has been the cornerstone of our care philosophy for more than two decades.


f you and your surgeon decide that artificial disc replacement surgery is a viable course of treatment for you, your surgeon will explain in detail what to expect before, during and after the procedure.

The spine surgeons at Texas Back Institute are leaders in disc replacement, and our world-class surgeons and staff will ensure you receive the most personalized and effective care possible at internationally cost-competitive rates.

What is Total Disc Replacement?

As spinal structures degenerate, they may cause pain, limiting function and decreasing quality of life. Total disc replacement (TDR, also called artificial disc) surgery is one of the latest advancements in spine surgery. Replacing the disc removes the cause of pain while preserving natural motion. This surgery is recommended only after extensive conservative therapies have failed to significantly provide pain relief. In the case of a cervical total disc replacement, the surgeon makes an incision in the front of the neck and contents of the neck are gently retracted, enabling the front part of the spine to be seen. For a lumbar total disc replacement, an incision is made in the abdomen to expose the front part of the spine; the disc is approached after carefully separating away the abdominal contents and major blood vessels are moved off to the side. Fluoroscopy is used to determine the correct level(s) before the disc material is removed and the artificial disc is inserted. A cervical total disc replacement surgery takes approximately 1-2 hours; a lumbar total disc replacement surgery takes about 1-3 hours.

What to Expect Before the Treatments

Once you have decided to have the injection, the following events take place:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before your nerve block injection.
  • You can take your regular heart and blood pressure medications on the morning of the nerve block injection with a sip of water. Diabetes medications should not be taken.
  • Discontinue taking anti-inflammatories three days before the nerve block injection.
  • Discontinue taking aspirin products seven days before the nerve block injection.
  • If on blood thinners, call the physician who prescribed the medication to get approval to stop taking them before the injection.
What to Expect During the Treatments
  • You will lie on a table in a procedure room.
  • The skin in the area where the injection will be made will be cleaned.
  • The skin is numbed with lidocaine.
  • Using fluoroscopy (live X-ray) for guidance, the physician directs a needle toward the area of the nerve root to be evaluated.
  • The anesthetic and steroid solution is injected.
  • The injection procedure will take about 30 minutes.
What to Expect After the Treatments
  • You will be in a recovery room for about 30 minutes.
  • It is important that you have someone to drive you home.
  • It is common to experience an increase in pain once the numbing medicine wears off.
  • The steroid does not become effective for 24 hours.
  • Activity should be restricted for the first 4-5 days after the injection.
  • You will need to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your level of pain relief after the nerve block injection.