Lumbar Total Disc Replacement Surgery | MedStar Health

The discs in your neck and back are located between each vertebra (bone) of the spine. They act as a cushion between the vertebrae, allowing flexibility and full range of movement of the spinal column. Due to disease or degeneration over time, these discs can become compressed or bulge out (herniated disc). Some people may call this a “slipped disc” or “bulging disc.” A lack of properly functioning discs creates pressure on a nerve and can lead to pain in the back. If you feel radiating pain to the extremities and weakness, you should see a doctor.

These types of spine conditions can be treated non-surgically with medication and physical therapy. However, if non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful in resolving the symptoms of a prolapsed disc, spine surgery may be the best option.

Total disc replacement surgery

More recently, disc replacement surgery using artificial discs has been developed to advance the treatment of disc disease and degeneration. The surgeon removes the natural disc from between two vertebrae and replaces it with an artificial disc. Total disc replacement surgery is currently most often used in the cervical spine (neck).

This advance in spine surgery allows for normal motion of the spine to be maintained, unlike the more traditional spinal fusion surgery. In addition, this type of spine surgery may help maintain the health of the discs adjacent to the protruding disc.