Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement
An artificial disc replacement replaces damaged and worn lumbar disc material between the bones in the spine (vertebrae), and is replaced with a synthetic or “artificial” disc. The surgery’s goal is to eliminate back pain while maintaining natural function and mobility of the low back. Lumbar artificial disc surgery is an excellent alternative to a spinal fusion, for patients suffering from degenerative disc disease with no spinal deformity or instability.
The specific advantages of the artificial disc replacement is to maintain the motion, maximize function, and minimize the long-term risks to the discs above and below this level. Before Dr. Rodriguez implants the artificial disc, a vascular surgeon makes the surgical approach with a 3-4cm incision just below the waist. Using a vascular surgeon for the surgical approach minimizes risk to major blood vessels and intestines.
- Fusion Sparing Surgery
- Reduces Stress on Adjacent Spinal Discs
- 90% Success Rate in Alleviating Pain
- Less Post-operative Pain Than Spinal Fusion
- Reduced Blood Loss and Infection Rate
- Minimal Incision and Scarring
What Are the Indications For Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement?
- Significant Low Back Pain That Radiates Into The Legs
- At Least 3 Months Of Nonsurgical Treatment
- Only One Level Of The Back Affected
- Suitable General Health for Safe Anesthesia
- No Prior Retroperitoneal Surgery with Abdominal Vascular Surgery (i.e. Kidney Removed or Colon Surgery)
How Is The Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement Performed?
A 3-4 cm incision is made just below the waistline in your abdomen and an approach is made by a vascular surgeon to the vertebral bones of the lumbar spine. Dr. Rodriguez removes damaged disc and any bone spurs pressing on the spinal cord or nerves. Once the disc is prepared, a durable plastic and metal device that moves in a similar fashion to the natural disc is inserted into the disc space. The procedure and device allows Dr. Rodriguez to remove the pain-generating disc and take the pressure off the spinal cord and the nerves while maintaining a motion similar to the original disc.
What Is The Recovery After Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement?
Generally, patients are kept overnight for observation and pain control with intravenous medication. However, one could go home the same day if they are recovered from anesthesia and their pain is well controlled with pain pills. Patients can return to light duty work as early as 2 weeks (if necessary). Many patients return to light duty jobs by 6 weeks and heavy lifting positions by 3-6 months. Physical therapy may be needed at 6 weeks post-operative.
What Are The Risks of Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement?
The lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery, like any other surgical procedure, has certain potential risks and complications associated with it. Dr. Rodriguez will discuss all potential risks of surgery and answers all of your concerns prior to any decision to move forward with surgery.