Artificial Disc Lumbar Replacement
Back pain caused by one or two problematic intervertebral disks in the lumbar spine
- No significant facet joint disease or bony compression on spinal nerves
- Body size that is not excessively overweight
- No prior major surgery on the lumbar spine
- No deformity of the spine (scoliosis )
In artificial disk replacement, worn or damaged disk material between the small bones in the spine (vertebrae) is removed and replaced with a synthetic or "artificial" disk. The goal of the procedure is to relieve back pain while maintaining more normal motion than is allowed with some other procedures, such as spinal fusion.
More about Treatment
While many patients are helped by lumbar fusion, the results of the surgery can vary. In addition, some patients whose fusion surgeries heal perfectly still end up with no improvement of their back pain.
Some doctors believe that the failure to improve after fusion surgery is due to the fact that fusion prevents normal motion in the spine. For this reason, artificial disk replacement—which aims to preserve normal motion—has emerged as an alternative treatment option for low back pain.
Artificial disk replacement initially gained FDA approval for use in the U.S. in 2004. Over the past several years, numerous disk replacement designs have been developed and are currently being tested.