Artificial Disc Replacement as Alternative to Spine Fusion
Approximately 30 spine surgeons throughout the country are now enrolling candidates for an artificial lumbar (back) disc investigational device clinical trail. The clinical trial will be used to help support an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that could allow the approved future use of the device. Approximately 200,000 lumbar surgeries are performed in the United States every year. These surgeries usually entail a fusion often with the use of instrumentation such as rods, screws, and cages.
The ProDisc Artificial Disc could potentially offer another option to patients who suffer from degenerative disc disease. The disc’s design is based on decades of total joint arthroplasty experience.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is part of the natural process of growing older. As people age, their intervertebral discs lose their flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics. Discs are gel-like cushions that act as shock absorbers between each of the bones of the spine. For approximately half of the over 40 population, this process can cause several different symptoms, including back pain, nerve root pathology, and spinal cord compression. These symptoms are caused by the fact that worn out discs are a source of pain because they do not function as well as they once did, and as they shrink, the space available for the nerve roots and the spinal cord also shrinks.
For those people suffering from degenerative disc disease who do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be recommended. The most common form of surgery for treating degenerative disc disease in the lumbar (back) spine is a spinal fusion. During a fusion procedure, the degenerated disc is removed and a bone graft, taken either from the patient’s iliac crest (hip area), a donor (cadaver) bone, or a bone graft substitute is inserted in-between the two vertebrae located above and below the removed disc. Often, a metal implants are then attached to the two vertebrae to stabilize the area until the bone graft can fuse to the vertebrae creating one solid piece of bone.
While a fusion remains the standard of care, and allows most patients to return to symptom-free normal activities within a very short period of time, the artificial disc clinical trial will study an alternative potential solution for those patients suffering from Degenerative Disc Disease.
Southeastern Spine Institute is now performing Artificial Disc Replacement using the ProDisc Aritificial Disc. Contact our office for more information or to make an appointment.