Lumbar Disc Replacment

Lumbar degenerative disc disease is a common condition whereby the discs in your back can lose height and shape.  As this occurs, some patient experience extreme nerve pain while other develop severe back pain.  The condition is fairly common after age 40 and most symptoms from a degenerated disc will improve without surgery.

Generally 6 months of therapy is required before considering surgery for a degenerated disc and the two options are either fusion or disc replacement.  With disc replacement, an artificial disc is inserted through a relatively small abdominal incision.  The new disc restores height, can restore angulation, and allows motion preservation.  


MRI Showing Severe Degneration at the L5-S1 Disc

At Modern Spine, we will go over your images personally with you and let you see the actual issues before discussing options.

The Modern Spine Thought on Disc Replacement

What is the biggest challenge in disc replacement surgery?

The surgery is very safe and is not technically challenging in most patients.  The leading challenge is getting insurance to cover the devices.  This is changing for the better but very slowly.

Disc Replacement Options

There are two major lumbar disc replacements that are on the U.S. market and FDA approved for use.  The two discs have different properties and characteristics but overall are similar.  At Modern Spine, we will select the disc that works best for your condition and answer any questions you have about the device we feel is best for you.

If insurance is an issues (which it often is), we will also direct you to resources to assist you, discuss fusion as an alternative, and discuss other options that might be available to you.  We want the best for you and will help you through the process.  

Next Steps

It is strongly advised you check with your insurance to see if you have coverage options.  If you don’t, getting an artificial disc will be extremely challenging and it may be best to consider waiting until the insurance market improves or consider fusion.  

That said, we see a lot of patients that do qualify.  Start with therapy in a program.  Graduate to a home program.  Document your home therapy on a calendar or phone app.  After 6 months, if conservative care fails, you might be a candidate for motion preservation disc replacement.  

If you have a degenerated disc reach out to Modern Spine using the Consult Today button, Contact Us, or get a referral from your doctor.  We have expertise at lumbar disc replacement since 2006 and might be your only option for disc replacement in the region.