Spinal disk replacement

A lumbar disk replacement is a type of back or spine surgery. Your spine is made up of bones called vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. Disks between the vertebrae work like cushions to allow the vertebrae to rotate and move without the bones rubbing against each other. The lumbar vertebrae and disks are at the bottom of your spine. Lumbar disk replacement involves replacing a worn or degenerated disk in the lower part of your spine with an artificial disk made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic.

Lumbar disk replacement is generally seen as an alternative to the more common spinal fusion surgery. Fusion permanently joins 2 vertebrae together, disc replacement preserves motion which is closer to natural disc. Lumbar disk replacement is a major surgery that requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay.

The main reason you would need a lumbar disk replacement is to treat low back pain. Still, not everyone with low back pain is a good candidate for a lumbar disk replacement surgery. Your doctor will need to do some tests to see if it’s the right procedure for you.

In general, lumbar disk replacement surgery might be recommended if:

Your back pain mostly comes from only 1 or 2 disks in your lower spine
You have no significant joint disease or compression on the nerves of your spine
You are not excessively overweight
You haven’t previously had spinal surgery
You don’t have scoliosis or another spinal deformity