Lumbar Total Disc Replacement is used to treat chronic pain of the lower spine due to degeneration, injury, or pathology of the discs. The spine itself is divided into three sections: the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. The cervical spine makes up the neck, while the lumbar spine accounts for the bottom 5 vertebrae. Between each vertebra is cushioning known as discs which protect the vertebrae from rubbing against one another. The discs may deteriorate due to injury or chronic wear and tear over time. This causes pain and discomfort.
During Lumbar Total Disc Replacement, the damaged disc(s) is removed and replaced with an artificial disk. This restores the cushioning and correct height of the spine. Artificial discs are composed of medical grade metal, plastic, or a composite of both materials. The incision for this procedure is through the lower abdomen, directly above the degenerated discs. This approach protects nerves and surrounding muscle tissue. Lumbar Total Disc Replacement is an effective alternative to spinal fusion surgery. However, it still requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay of approximately 2-4 days. This is determined by the degree of post-operative recovery and pain.
Prior to surgery, x-ray, MRI or CT imaging may be necessary. This helps determine the degree of disc degeneration in your spine. Blood tests may also be performed. It is recommended that smoking, certain medications, and supplements be abstained from prior to surgery.
Following surgery, you may be encouraged to walk and perform simple exercises to maintain mobility and enhance recovery. Total recovery generally takes several weeks or months, however, is considered faster than alternative procedures. To reinforce complete recovery, demanding physical activity such as lifting and twisting must be avoided.
Ideal candidates for this procedure experience lower back pain, have not had previous spine surgery, are within the medically recommended weight parameters, do not have multiple degenerated discs, are not experiencing nerve compression, and do not have scoliosis or alternate spine disorders.