Total Disc ReplacementTotal Disc Replacement Overview

Total disc replacement (TDR) is a surgical procedure in which an intervertebral disc in the spine is replaced with an artificial, mechanical device. The procedure is also called artificial disc replacement (ADR), disc replacement, disc prosthesis or spine arthroplasty.

The procedure can be performed in the upper back (cervical spine) or the lower back (lumbar spine). It is commonly used to treat chronic low back pain or neck pain when patients have severe disc degeneration as a result of age, disease or other causes. Many patients require total disc replacement as a result of back and leg pain cause by degenerative disc disease (DDD).​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

An alternative to spinal fusion, total disc replacement is designed to eliminate pain and other symptoms while preserving flexibility and motion between vertebrae (segmental motion). Total disc replacement can also offer a faster recovery and return to activities than spinal fusion surgery.

Total Disc Replacement History

Total disc replacement has been in use in Europe for over 15 years and has been in use in the United States since gaineding FDA approval in 2004.

Total Disc Replacement Procedure

The procedure is typically performed through an incision in the abdomen. The surgeon will open and expose the disk space, remove the damaged disc, and implant the new artificial disc. The operating time is normally two to three hours total.

Total Disc Replacement Recovery

Many patients are able to stand and walk within 24 hours of surgery. A typical hospital stay ranges from two to 4 days.

Am I a Candidate for Total Disc Replacement?

A spinal specialist will normally use a number of tests and diagnostic tools to evaluate whether a patient would be a good candidate for total disc replacement. The may include x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT scan, CAT scan, and /or discography. Good candidates often have back pain in the lower back, no deformity of the spine, e.g. scoliosis, and have not had prior surgery in the lower back.

Advantages of a Minimally Invasive Total Disc Replacement Surgery can include:

  • Small incision
  • Preserves muscle
  • Less scarring
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Faster Recovery
  • Lower risk of infection

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