Artificial Lumbar Disc Surgery

For patients who suffer from chronic back pain, spinal fusion surgery is usually the first surgical option they are willing to consider.

As we previously discussed

, the purpose of spinal fusion is to merge multiple vertebrae in order to strengthen the spine and relieve chronic back pain. Thanks to new technology, there is a new procedure called artificial lumbar disc surgery that can accomplish these very goals with more promising results and less healing time.


The purpose of artificial lumbar disc surgery is to remove the diseased disc in order to restore the normal formation of lumbar discs in the lower spine. This procedure promises to decrease lower back pain caused by degenerative discs and preserve mobility and function of the spine. In contrast to spinal fusion surgery, the benefits of artificial lumbar surgery are similar to those of artificial cervical disc surgery

These benefits may include:


· Speedier recovery

· Improved spine mobility

· Alleviating stress on surrounding discs

· Less invasive than collecting and culturing a bone graft


Also similar to artificial cervical disc surgery, there is specific criteria that must be met in order to be considered a candidate for this procedure. You must have:


· Disc degeneration in only one disc in the lumbar spine

· Six months minimum of consecutive non-invasive treatment, such as physical therapy, medication, or by wearing a brace, with little to no signs of improvement.

· Overall good health with no signs of infection, or degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis or arthritis.

· No known metal allergies such as cobalt, chromium, or titanium.


While you may not be considered if you have multiple disc generation or suffer from severe leg pain, candidates with prior back surgeries may still be considered on a case-by-case basis.


During the procedure the patient will be placed under general anesthesia and an incision is made in the abdomen where the surgeon will pass through in order to remove and replace the degenerative disc. The average in-patient recovery time is about four to five days.

A few of the potential risks for artificial disc surgery are common to many other types of back surgeries, but the consequences tend to not be as severe as they are with more invasive procedures. Long-term patient monitoring is essential to properly assess how effective artificial disc surgery in alleviating the patient’s chronic pain. The physician will likely schedule a series of follow-up appointments in order to gauge the overall progress of a patient’s recovery.


As always, these articles are meant for general education and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat a specific disease. Please see Dr. Sharma for questions regarding the specific treatment of your symptoms.