Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement
Lumbar artificial discs are placed through the abdomen; they are mechanical devices that allow movement that mimics the normal function of a disc.
There are different types of artificial discs – e.g. Maverick, CHARITE and Prodisc-L.
Dr Steel believes that preserving motion at a disc space places the additional vertebral joints under less stress, compared with a fusion operation.
One of the issues that occur with fusion surgery is that people develop problems in the disc spaces next to the fusion; Dr Steel believes artificial disc replacements will minimise these problems with patients in the future.
Not all patients are suitable for an artificial disc replacement. In general, this procedure is appropriate for young patients who have primarily discogenic pain. It is not suitable for elderly patients, osteoporotic patients, patients with facet joint disease, patients with sciatica, patients with a collapsed and severely degenerate disc, or patients over 50 years.
Post operative care, advice and physiotherapy for a lumbar artificial disc replacement are essentially the same as for a microdiscectomy.