Lumbar Total Disc Replacement

As a patient suffering from unremitting low back pain, if at least six months of aggressive conservative (nonsurgical) treatment has failed to help, and especially if the pain and other symptoms are making it difficult to complete everyday activities, then surgery can be considered to relieve the pain and restore function for the patient. We commonly see this in our patients throughout Dallas, Grapevine, Plano, Red Oak, Duncanville, Southlake and throughout the DFW Marketplace.

The traditional approach to treating pain and/or disability from lumbar degenerative disc disease has been a spinal fusion. This surgery involves forming a direct bony connection between the vertebrae surrounding the painful disc(s); pain relief occurs by stopping the motion of the painful disc(s).

There are a wide variety of options available with spinal fusion, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Surgical techniques include fusion approached from the front, the back, or both.  Spinal instrumentation in the form of intervertebral cages and/or pedicle screws provide internal structural support while the bone fuses, and bone graft can either be harvested from the patient or one of a number of synthetic bone graft substitutes or extenders can be used.

A newer surgical option for the treatment of painful lumbar discs in the US is artificial disc replacement.  With artificial disc replacement, pain relief is brought about by removal of the painful disc and motion is maintained with the use of a prosthetic implant made of metal and possibly with the addition of a polyethylene bearing surface. The materials and theory behind the lumbar total disc replacement is similar to the hip, knee and shoulder replacements that have been performed for the past three decades by orthopaedic surgeons to maintain motion and alleviate pain from arthritic joints.  The difference in the lumbar spine is that only one of the three joints that contributes motion at each level is being replaced, that being the intervertebral disc space while in a hip or knee, the entire joint is replaced.  Lumbar fusion is the more widely performed procedure, and there are only a small percentage of patients with symptomatic degenerative disc disease who are eligible for lumbar disc replacements.  If a patient has been suffering from unremitting low back pain, if at least six months of aggressive conservative (nonsurgical) treatment has failed to help, and especially if the pain and other symptoms are making it difficult to complete everyday activities, then back surgery may be an option to bring about pain relief and restore one’s ability to function.

For more information schedule an appointment at any of our office locations which are conveniently located to the Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville areas.

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