Total Disc Arthroplasty

Total disc arthroplasty, also known as artificial disc replacement (ADR) and total disc replacement (TDR) is a surgical procedure performed to replace degenerated discs in the spinal column. If you have degenerative disc disease and are experiencing chronic pain in the back or cervical region, you may be a candidate for total disc arthroplasty.

Reasons to Consider Total Disc Arthroplasty 

Replacing damaged spinal discs that are triggering chronic neck or back pain with an artificial disc has been an established method of treatment in Europe for several years and is currently in the United States. Many spine surgeons believe that artificial disc technology can be beneficial when appropriately indicated.

Potential Indications:

  • Limited/isolated degenerative disc disease
  • Painful lumbar discs/Internal disc disruption
  • Damaged discs
  • Chronic lower back pain
  • Chronic cervical pain

How Total Disc Arthroplasty is Performed

Total disc arthroplasty, or total disc replacement, is a suitable procedure for patients who have damaged discs. The artificial discs are designed to be placed into the disc space with surgery through an incision made at or near the front of the abdomen when performed in the lumbar spine. Your surgeon will move major blood vessels off to the side to reach the spinal column and place the disc using special techniques. The artificial disc allows for motion between the vertebrae without fusion. The implant is secured in place and stabilized to the bony surfaces.  This procedure may be an attractive alternative to spinal fusion surgery in some patients.

Recovering from a Total Disc Arthroplasty Procedure

This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia. Patients are most commonly discharged within one to two days following surgery. Pain frequently improves within a few days to weeks. Some patients require a few weeks or even months for a full recovery but can return to light work within a week or two of surgery. Most patients can resume regular activities within six weeks of their procedure.