Artificial Disc Replacement for Chronic Back Pain

What is an Artificial Disc Replacement(ADR)?

Also known as TDR(total disk replacement), ADR involves removing a degenerated or painful disc. It may also be part of another treatment. The surgeon replaces the damaged disc with a device that mimics that disc’s natural function and motion.

The spine is made up of joints that move. At each level, an intervertebral disc system supports the spine with a disc in the front and two facet joints in the back. Each disc can move, and every replacement mimics the corresponding original design and functionality.

Is This Procedure Appropriate for Fixing Chronic Back Pain?

ADR can work very well for some chronic back pain sufferers. In most cases, surgery is the last option following non-surgical treatments. For clarity, an artificial disc is helpful if the issue is an injury to the disc in front of the spine. So, the patient still must have two disease-free facet joints in the back of the affected vertebrae.

The most impressive aspect of this procedure is how quickly patients can get mobile. For suitable patients, ADR is a great opportunity that can get them walking pain-free in less than 24 hours. Usually, they have to spend one night under medical supervision. But patients can go home and enjoy their replacement as long as they follow some simple rules:

  • no intense activities during the first four to six weeks
  • stop smoking (nicotine slows down recovery because it is a bone toxin)
  • follow recommended medication plan

What Happens During Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery?

After anesthesia, an access surgeon (a trained vascular surgeon) provides access to the lumbar spine. The surgeon then removes the diseased discs from behind. By using intraoperative X-rays, the device is implanted in the spine, and the only thing left is to close it all up.

After surgery, some patients may have to wear a lumbar corset. Mainly for comfort while the incision heals. It usually takes up to three weeks for the soft tissues to heal. Instead, the bone can take up to six weeks to heal.

Finally, the patient starts physical therapy after six weeks. Return to full activity without restrictions usually takes three months. Here at, our approach is to take a holistic approach to restore the spine in accordance with the patient’s lifestyle. This means providing holistic solutions and using the latest technology in the field.