Total Disk Replacement Surgery

Total Disk Replacement Surgery

The disc in your spine is a soft-cartilage material cushioning the adjacent vertebrae, the bones that make up the spinal column. The outer portion of the disc is called annulus fibrosus that surrounds an inner portion, the nucleus pulposus. The nucleus pulposus is a soft jelly like substance that is well hydrated and acts like a shock absorber. Certain injuries cause dehydration of nucleus pulposus making it stiffer and thereby the discs fail to provide cushioning effect. While this happens the height of the disc is reduced and thus stress is increased on the surrounding annulus fibrosis, resulting in damage to the annulus. This can cause instability of the spine and can cause back pain. One of the treatment options for this condition is total disc replacement surgery in which the damaged spinal disc is replaced with artificial discs to restore the normal functions of the spine.

Total disc replacement surgery is used for the treatment of degenerative disc disease (DDD) in the lumbar spine, or the treatment of symptomatic cervical disc disease (SCDD) in the cervical spine. The traditional method of surgery to treat these conditions has been spinal fusion. During spinal fusion surgery, the damaged disc is removed and the adjacent vertebrae are fixed in position with implants and a bone graft is placed in the area, resulting eventually in one solid piece of bone. The new ProDisc technology allows your surgeon to replace the degenerative disc with an implant that allows motion and do not require a bone graft. Most patients can return to normal activities more rapidly after the total disc replacement, compared to a fusion surgery.

The ProDisc total disc replacement is a newer alternative treatment option to spinal fusion surgery to relieve pain associated with degenerative disc disease in the cervical or lumbar spine, while preserving motion in the spine. ProDisc Lumbar and ProDisc Cervical total disc replacement are provided by the Synthes Spine Inc.

Features of ProDisc-C and ProDisc-L implants include:

  • Ball and socket implant design – Allows controlled and predictable motion
  • Central keel provides initial fixation to vertebral bodies
  • A titanium coating provides secondary fixation
  • Cobalt-chrome-molybdenum alloy (CoCrMo) – proven arthroplasty materials

The ProDisc-L and ProDisc-C total disc replacement is used to replace a diseased or damaged disc. These devices also restore disc height, reduce pain, preserve motion at the diseased spinal segment, and improve function. The ProDisc-L and ProDisc-C total disc replacement implants consists of three parts, two metal (cobalt-chrome-molybdenum alloy) endplates that are implanted into the vertebra above and below the affected disc and a polymer inlay that is inserted between the two end plates.

The ProDisc total disc replacement is usually indicated in patients who do not respond to non surgical treatments such as medication, injections, and physical therapy. The ProDisc total disc replacement should not be used in patients who have spinal infection, osteoporosis, allergy or sensitivity to implant materials, spondylolisthesis, spinal tumor, pregnancy, used steroids for longer duration, and in those who had previous abdominal surgery.