A lumbar total disc replacement may be suggested for a patient with degenerative disc disease, a disc herniation, or spinal stenosis who wants to preserve motion at that level.
A patient is positioned face up and the surgeon makes an incision on the lower belly. The surgeon will dissect down through the various structures in the abdominal cavity until the spine is directly visualized. The intervertebral disc will then be removed, the endplates will be prepared, and the artificial disc will be inserted.
Patients are discharged about 2-5 days after their procedure. With a proper physical therapy and rehabilitative plan, patients can resume light activity in 4-6 weeks. Patients generally make a full return to normalcy in 3-4 months.
Most patients will generally recover faster from a lumbar disc replacement than other types of lumbar procedures. With lumbar disc arthroplasty, the patients has the added benefit of motion being maintained at the affected level which will allow for better range of motion and reduced chance of adjacent level pathology.