spine_pain_diagnosisThe American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that 70 to 80 percent of people will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives. A newer treatment option for lower back pain caused by disc deterioration, lumbar disc replacement may not be as safe as other forms of back surgery. As lumbar disc replacement has only recently been approved by the FDA, the spine surgery specialists at La Peer Health Systems’ Spine Center of Excellence do not recommend this treatment for most patients.

Who Gets Lumbar Disc Replacement?

Doctors will likely need to ordering imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs to determine who is a candidate for artificial disc replacement. The procedure is not appropriate for every patient. People who are overweight and those who suffer from spinal deformities should not undergo lumbar disc replacement. In general, doctors recommend lumbar disc replacement for patients with back pain believed to result from one or two intervertebral discs.

Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery

Lumbar disc replacement involves the placement of an artificial medical-grade plastic or metal disc to replace a worn or injured back disc. Typically, doctors perform the procedure through an incision in the abdomen. The benefit of this entry method is that it allows the surgeon to reach the lumbar spine without disturbing the nerves. Because artificial disc replacement is more invasive than other spine surgeries, it carries more risks such as infection and implant failure. The board-certified spine specialists at the Spine Center of Excellence do not recommend lumbar disc replacement for the majority of patients suffering from low back pain.

Complications Associated with Lumbar Disc Replacement

Lumbar disc replacement is a newer procedures and carries with it a number of risks. Some of the potential complications include infection around the artificial disc, implant failure, implant loosening and spinal stenosis resulting from the spinal bones breaking down after surgery. Many patients have experienced spinal stiffness or rigidity in the lumbar spine after undergoing artificial disc replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there advantages to lumbar disc replacement?

A: Because disc replacement does not require the bone to heal, recovery times may be faster than with other forms of back surgery.

Q: What patients should NOT have lumbar disc replacement?

A: Patients who are overweight and those who suffer from spinal deformities and certain joint diseases are not good candidates for lumbar disc replacement.

Q: Will lumbar disc replacement eliminate my back pain?

A: Most studies suggest that lumbar disc replacement improves but does not totally eliminate back pain.

Q: Will I need to be under anesthesia during lumbar disc replacement?

A: Lumbar disc replacement is a serious surgery requiring patients to be under general anesthesia.

Q: What are some alternate treatments for lower back pain?

A: The doctors at the Spine Center of Excellence recommend the following treatments for lumbar back pain: physical therapy, medication and spine fusion.

Contact a Spine Surgeon Today

The experts at the Spine Center of Excellence are committed to alleviating your back and spine pain and helping you return to the activities you once enjoyed. Call (888) 564-1419 to schedule an appointment today to learn about your spine treatment options.

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Next, learn about discectomy for herniated discs.