Artificial Disc Replacement
Artificial Disc Replacement involves replacing a painful disc that is causing chronic back pain with an artificial disc that provides pain relief without compromising the spine’s natural anatomical structure. Artificial disc replacement surgery may be performed on the lower back (lumbar spine) or the neck (cervical spine). Artificial discs are structurally similar to the damaged discs that are replaced and share similar functions, including acting as shock absorbers in the back or neck.
Artificial discs are usually made of metal or plastic-like (biopolymer) materials, or a combination of the two. These materials have been used in the body for many years. Total disc replacements have been used in Europe since the late 1980s. The most commonly used total disc replacement designs have two plates. One attaches to the vertebrae above the disc being replaced and the other to the vertebrae below. Some devices have a soft, compressible plastic-like piece between these plates. The devices allow motion by smooth, usually curved, surfaces sliding across each other.