Artificial disc replacement, or arthroplasty, is a relatively modern invention. Instead of removing or fusing a disc, the idea of replacement has been around for many years. However, only in the last generation have these devices become commercially available and approved by the FDA.
Artificial disc replacement options are available for both the cervical and lumbar spine. Cervical disc replacements can be used at one or two levels as an alternative to fusion. It is important to note that these devices have potential benefits as well as disadvantages. Disc replacement devices generally have a quicker recovery time and theoretically allow the patient to continue to have a better normal range of motion than fusion options. On the other hand, disc replacement devices cannot be used for people who have any kind of instability or problems with bone health.
Physicians at Precision Spine Care have been at the forefront of disc replacement technology. Our doctors were involved in some of the earliest studies and continue to offer this option to patients who are candidates for this type of treatment. The typical surgery around disc replacement is similar to fusion surgery, however, a motion preserving device is placed in lieu of a fusion device. Talk to your physician if you feel you might be a candidate or interested in this option.
The above information is for general education purposes only. Please ask your doctor specific questions during your visit.