Back injuries occur on the job more often than you think. Sometimes, a back injury occurs due to an accident like a fall; in other cases, the work injury may develop progressively due to repeated movements on the job. If you suffer a back accident injury at work, a spine doctor may recommend artificial disk replacement as a solution to repair the damage, get you out of pain, and get you back on the job. Optimally, worker’s compensation should cover the costs of your surgery, recovery, and time off work. Still, issues occasionally arise, and you may need to contact a Los Angeles or Orange County worker’s compensation attorney to help straighten it out. Let’s talk about what artificial disk replacement entails, how long it takes to recover, and what to do if worker’s compensation tries to deny your claim.
What Is Artificial Disk Replacement?
When a back injury occurs, quite often, the pain comes as a result of a ruptured or diseased disk—the soft, rubbery “pad” between vertebrae that keeps the bones from rubbing against each other and helps the spine stay flexible yet aligned. In artificial disk replacement, these damaged disks are removed and replaced with prosthetic components. An artificial disk will be made of a combination of metal or plastic and will approximately match the dimensions and contours of the disk(s) that were removed.
In the past, one of the most common treatments for these types of back injuries was spinal fusion, which involved removing the damaged disk and then fusing two vertebrae to form one long bone that supports weight more evenly. While this surgery is still common and works well for some people, others may be left with chronic pain or other complications from their injury due to a lack of support in the spine afterward. Artificial disk replacement offers a less invasive alternative to spinal fusion, one that offers fewer risks and complications and shorter recovery times.
Recovery for Artificial Disk Replacement
One of the biggest benefits of artificial disk replacement is that it often shortens the recovery time for patients compared to spinal fusion surgery. On average, most patients can resume normal activities (including work) within 3-5 weeks after artificial disk replacement. By contrast, spinal fusion recipients need to be prepared to be off work for up to 3-6 months.
If Worker’s Compensation Refuses to Pay
Even though artificial disk replacement makes sense for treating work-related injuries due to quicker recovery times, there may be times when worker’s compensation denies the claim or refuses to pay the full amount because their protocols may recommend spinal fusion as the most common solution. If this happens to you, it could put your family in serious financial difficulty. You may need a good work injury attorney in your corner to get the insurance to pay as it should.
If you suffer a back work injury in Bakersfield, Riverside, or elsewhere in southern California, and worker’s compensation refuses to cover the cost of your artificial disk replacement, Accident Defenders can help. Our personal injury attorneys have plenty of experience with difficult worker’s compensation cases. Give us a call at 323-818-HURT or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.