Painful discs and pinched nerves in the low back are unfortunately very common. While a spinal specialist is typically able to help you get better without surgery, there are many people who ultimately do need a surgical fix. Fortunately, there are many types of procedures to help you get back to the life you love. One of the minimally invasive options is a lumbar disc replacement.
Disc replacements in the back are similar to joint replacements in the hip, knee, and shoulder in that they allow you to keep your normal motion! The procedure involves accessing the spine by spreading muscle, not cutting it, taking the painful disc out, and putting in an implant that allows your spine to keep moving.
Lumbar disc replacements have advanced tremendously over the years. Initially, disc replacements were made of plastics or metals that allowed for some normal motion but not all motion. Importantly, compression and distraction, the shock absorber properties of a disc, were not built into the implants. However, more recent designs allow for the discs to replicate all normal disc motions. What this means for you is a faster and more complete return to pain free activity!
Not everybody is perfect for a lumbar disc replacement. If the bones are abnormally moving at baseline or if your posture isn’t perfect, then minimally invasive fusion options are better. However, if your low back pain isn’t completely gone, schedule an appointment with us to see if a disc replacement is the right choice for you!
Dr. Colin Haines is a board certified spine surgeon and the Director of Research at Virginia Spine Institute. Dr. Haines performed the world’s first combined endoscopic and robot-guided spine surgery. His patient success has earned him a national feature on The Today Show and WebMD, and Top Doctor recognition in consecutive years. Learn more about Dr. Haines.