FULL LUMBAR DISCAL PROSTHESIS

Lumbar total disc replacement is a surgical option for some people with degenerative disc disease. Your surgeon is most qualified to advise you, answer your concerns, and set reasonable expectations about your care. The decision to have surgery requires careful thought. Read this brochure to answer your basic questions. Write down any questions you may have and decide with your surgeon if lumbar total disc replacement is the right option for you.
Just as orthopedic surgeons have replaced worn-out hips, knees, and other joints in the body, now they have the technology to replace worn-out discs in the lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine).

Symptoms which might lead one to require disc replacement surgery:

  • Neck or back pain localized to only one or two degenerated  or  herniated discs

  • Younger patients who may not want to undergo spinal fusion
  • Symptomatic patients who want to maintain the range of motion of their spine

GOALS TO REMEMBER

Lumbar total disc replacement may:

  • Preserve spinal movement.

  • Relieve pain and maintain activity.
  • Restore disc height and proper curve of the spine.
  • Reduce postoperative recovery time.
  • Reduce the risk of bone graft donor site pain and difficult joint movement after healing.

Why is lumbar total disc replacement done?

Degenerative lumbar disc disease
The 24 bones in your spine, called vertebrae, are arranged in a column. The vertebrae protect and support the spinal cord and its’ many nerves. The soft discs between each vertebral bone allow your back to move and bend. Back pain can occur when one of these discs wears out or becomes damaged from injury or disease.

This condition is called degenerative disc disease, or DDD. During disc replacement surgery the damaged disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc made of biocompatible materials. This allows the spine to move. The goal is to reduce pain and maintain your ability to be active.

Traditional Surgery: Spinal fusion

Historically, spinal surgeons treated certain disc herniations or degenerated discs with disc removal and fusion (welding together of 2 spinal bones). Although the success rate has been greater than 90%, many surgeons are concerned that the fusion in one spinal area may accelerate the development of a disc problem at another level. Hypothetically, and with some promising results, disc replacement surgery may help to slow down or prevent the development of another problem.

Surgical Procedure

Full discal prosthesis with Prodisc
Lumbar total disc replacement surgery is performed with the help of a general anesthesia. After you fall asleep on your back in the operating room your surgeon will make an incision near the belly button to reach your spine. The disc replacement is performed through the front of your spine. After careful removal of most of the disc, artificial disc replacement prosthesis is placed between the vertebral bones. The prosthesis is usually a combination of metal and very hard plastic.
Full discal prosthesis with Prodisc
 

Not everyone is a suitable candidate for DISC Replacement. Conditions such as osteoporosis and severe arthritis could potentially produce poor results.

What happens after surgery?

Your pain and nausea after surgery will be treated with medication. The risks for lumbar total disc replacement surgery include those of any major surgery. Complications such as, infection, pain, nerve damage and disc inflammation, can occur and other risks exist. Talk with your surgeon to make sure you understand all the risks and benefits of the lumbar total disc replacement treatment recommended for you.

What can I expect during recovery?

During your recovery, you will see your surgeon for follow-up appointments and to start physical therapy and special exercise programs. Remember to follow your surgeon’s advice on limiting your activity after lumbar total disc replacement. Wear a back brace or elastic bandage to provide additional support for your abdominal muscles if your doctor prescribes one for you.

TERMS TO KNOW

Disc replacement: surgery to replace a degenerated disc with an artificial one.

Degenerative disc disease: happen when the discs wear out or are injured, causing pain or limiting daily activities.

Spinal fusion: surgery that joins together two or more vertebral bones to stabilize the spine.

Weighing your options

Artificial disc replacement is an alternative to spinal fusion. Candidates for lumbar total disc replacement surgery may have pain relief and may maintain motion in the spine. In addition, lumbar total disc replacement avoids the need for a bone graft.

How can I get assistance?