Disc Replacement Surgery

The disc is the soft structure located between the individual bones of the spine, or vertebrae. It is made up of cartilage-like tissue that works like a cushion to allow the vertebrae to rotate and move without the bones rubbing together. An artificial disc—also called a disc replacement—is a device that is implanted into the spine to imitate the functions of a normal disc.
Lumbar disc replacement involves replacing a worn or degenerated disc in the lower part of your spine with an artificial disc made of metal or a combination of plastic and metal.
Cervical disc replacement involves replacing a worn or degenerated disc between one of the seven vertebrae in the neck region.

How It Works

FOR LUMBAR DISC REPLACEMENT

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. A surgical cut is made in the abdomen, then the organs and blood vessels are moved to the side to allow access to the spine. When the damaged disc has been identified and removed, the artificial disc is placed and secured in the now-empty disc space. After your organs and blood vessels have been put back in place, the incision is sutured closed.

FOR CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. A surgical cut is made on the side or front of the neck, then the structures of the neck are carefully moved unto the bones of the vertebrae and the damaged cervical disc can be seen. Once that disc has been removed, the artificial disc is placed and secured in the now-empty disc space. Then the incision is sutured closed and soft collar may be placed on the neck to temporarily restrict motion.

Conditions Treated

LUMBAR DISC REPLACEMENT:

Lumbar disc replacement may be recommended to treat the following conditions:

  • Degenerative disc disease: gradual deterioration of the disc between the vertebrae, which is part of the normal aging process
  • Herniated or bulging disc: condition in which the outer portion of the vertebral disc is torn, allowing the inner portion of the disc to extrude through its fibers

 

CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT:

Cervical disc replacement may be recommended to treat the following conditions:

  • Symptomatic cervical disc disease

Benefits of Treatment

The goal of disc replacement is to remove the source of the pain being experienced. After the degenerated disc is removed and replaced by an artificial disc, additional benefits include:


LUMBAR DISC REPLACEMENT:

  • The procedure preserves natural anatomy of the unaffected lumbar discs by not disrupting the segment above or below the disc.
  • Normal disc height can be restored.
  • The patient experiences more post-operative flexibility to bend forward, backward, and rotate or twist.


CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT:

  • The procedure preserves normal neck motion do patients can reclaim a wider range of head and neck movement after surgery-which can lead to increased day-to-day function.
  • The procedure helps protect the adjacent vertebrae from additional degeneration over time.
  • Fast recovery time means patients have returned to work within four days of surgery.

Are You a Candidate?

FOR LUMBAR DISC REPLACEMENT

You may be a candidate for lumbar disc replacement if:

  • Your back pain is primarily caused by one or two intervertebral discs in your lower spine.
  • You have no significant joint disease of compression on the nerves of your spine.
  • You are not excessively overweight.
  • You have not previously had spine surgery.
  • You don’t have scoliosis or another spinal deformity.

FOR CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT

You may be a candidate for cervical disc replacement if:

  • You are between the ages of 18 and 60 with symptomatic cervical disc disease and have not experienced improvement after six months of non-operative care.
  • You have only one or two damaged discs that are causing nerve compression
  • You do not have abnormal motion or instability at the affected region of the neck.
  • You do not have advanced degenerative/arthritic changes, known as spondylosis.
  • You are not excessively overweight.