Artificial Disc Replacement

Artificial Disc

To treat degenerative disc disease, doctors usually begin with conservative (non-surgical) medical treatment. When conservative therapy fails, other approaches, possibly including surgery, may be recommended. Currently, the gold standard for surgical treatment of problematic degenerative disc disease is spinal fusion. This procedure attempts to permanently lock two or more spinal vertebrae together so they cannot move except as a single unit. This may alleviate pain in a motion segment. Spinal fusion, however, has well known potential disadvantages, including:

  • Loss of motion and flexibility
  • Permanently altered motion characteristics and biomechanics
  • Potential for accelerated degeneration of the discs above and below the fused level that can lead to more pain and the need for more surgery

Artificial disc replacement offers a reversible, viable alternative to fusion that possibly avoids the accepted shortcomings of fusion. By inserting an artificial disc instead of performing spinal fusion, there is the possibility of reducing damage to nearby discs and joints. This is because artificial disc replacement allows for motion preservation, near normal distribution of stress along the spine and restoration of pre-degenerative disc height