Lumbar Disc Replacement

Lumbar Disc Replacement Overview

Lumbar spine or lower back pain is a common problem for many patients. A diseased or damaged disc is often the cause of lower back pain. Nonsurgical treatment options treat most diseased or damaged discs and their symptoms; however, surgery is sometimes recommended.

Lumbar disc replacement is an excellent procedure because it treats the removes the disc and replaces it with a new one. Full range of motion is restored after recovery. Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) spine specialists are lumbar disc replacement experts.

How is lumbar disc replacement performed?

A lumbar disc replacement is performed under general anesthesia. After the patient is completely asleep, a CONA spine specialist:

  1. Begins surgery. Muscles and soft tissues are gently retracted.
  2. Removes the disc. The inner part of the disc is carefully removed. The disc’s outer wall is left intact.
  3. Replaces the disc. An artificial disc implant is inserted into the intervertebral space. The implant rests against the disc wall.
  4. Ends surgery. Tissue layers and skin are closed. A sterile dressing is applied to the surgical site.

Total procedure time is usually about 2 hours.

What conditions can lumbar disc replacement treat?

Lumbar disc replacement may be recommended to treat:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Lumbar disc replacement only treats one vertebral level. Multi-level disc damage may require a spinal fusion procedure.

What are lumbar disc replacement advantages?

Lower back pain is dramatically reduced shortly after the procedure. After a complete recovery is made, full range of motion is restored.

What is lumbar disc replacement recovery like?

Post-surgery hospital staff monitor and control discomfort after the procedure. Lumbar disc replacement recovery instructions are given to patients before surgery and during follow-up appointments. Physical therapy is an important part of recovery. Patients work one-on-one with a physical therapist to gain strength and flexibility.

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