Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement
Approximately 80% of Americans experience significant back pain at least once in their lifetime, and for many people, spinal disorders are a lifelong problem. The personal and monetary costs associated with this widespread problem are staggering. One of the main causes of back pain and spinal disorders is the degeneration of spinal discs. Disc degeneration is painful and often difficult to treat. One of the most promising surgical advancements that has been developed and FDA-approved since 2005 is lumbar artificial disc replacement.
What is a Spinal Disc?
The spaces between each vertebra in your spine (spinal discs) serve as areas of motion for your spine. As we age, these discs can deteriorate. When this happens, they lose their functional motion abilities and cause pain and wear and tear on the vertebra. To treat this condition, alternatives to disc replacement include fusion, nonoperative care or no treatment. Typically, surgery is not considered for disc-related pain unless the pain has been severe for a prolonged period (typically over six months) and the patient has gone through nonoperative treatments (such as active physical therapy, medication, injections, activity modification and/or spinal manipulation).
With the introduction of total disc replacement (TDR) surgery, surgeons can offer their patients an alternative to spinal fusion surgery for the treatment of degenerative disc disease (DDD) in the lumbar spine, or the treatment of symptomatic cervical disc disease (SCDD) in the cervical spine. The TDR procedure is intended to relieve pain and preserve motion in the spine. During both TDR surgery and spinal fusion surgery, the pain-generating disc is removed and the disc height is restored. During a fusion surgery, the spinal segment is stabilized with an implant and plate and/or rods and screws. Bone graft may be used to promote osseous fusion of the vertebrae. Conversely, during a TDR surgery, an implant that allows the potential for motion is inserted into the disc space. There are two FDA approved Lumbar Disc Replacement devices available, these include the PRODISC®-L and Activ-L ®.