Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

Intervertebral disk disease, or degenerative disk disease, is one of the most common issues with the spine. There are a number of treatment methods for protruded disks but in the most severe cases when a disk is completely worn out modern spinal surgery offer an option of replacement of the diseased disk with artificial implant.

Artificial Intervertebral Disks

Artificial spinal disks are designed to carry out natural function of the interverberal disks to act as shock-absorber and provide flexibility of the spine. They can be made of metal or biopolymer material (sometimes a combination of the two). The various design of the disks is suitable to the different types of surgery:

  • Total spinal disk replacement: the entire disk is replaced.
  • Nuclear disk replacement: only the nuclear (central) part of the disk is replaced.

Artificial disk replacement is a new method of treatment for severe herniation and other degenerative changes but it has been growing popular in recent years. It is considered when the other treatments for relieving pain were not effective and condition is still worsening. One of the purposes of the disk replacement is preserving the range of spine motions limited with age and diseases.

Artificial Disk Replacement Procedures

Depending on the spine region where the problems occur, you could name some demanded treatments.

Artificial Cervical Disk Replacement

Indications for artificial disk in the neck are herniated disks disease in the advanced stage and bone spurs in the cervical spine that cause nerve compression followed with bad pain and motion difficulties. The problems more often occur between the fourths and fifth, fifth and sixth, and sixth and seven vertebras.

During cervical desk replacement procedure, damaged disk is accurately removed from the anterior side. After that, a surgeon places an artificial disk into the space between the two vertebras.

Artificial Lumbar Disk Replacement

During lumbar disk replacement the surgery is done from the front via abdomen. Same as above, the surgeon first removes degenerative disk and replace it with prosthesis. Procedure is performed under the general anesthesia and may take a few hours. Sometime several disks may be replaced and, in this case, the spine may need additional instrumentation as metal rods, screws and others.

The Benefits of Artificial Disks Replacement versus Spinal Fusion

The advantages of artificial vertebral disks replacement comparing to the spinal fusion procedure are following:

  • There are no risks associated with bone grafts as non-union of the implanted bones
  • The procedure is intended to keep the spine mobility when fusion reduces it

The Risks of Artificial Disks Replacement

The specific risks related to disk implants are following:

  • It is new technology not studied well and it may have some unexpected issues
  • Synthetic material can also wear out in the perspective and may require revision surgery

Common complication after disk replacement surgery:

  • Risk if infections
  • Possible injury of the nerves
  • Neurological issues including paralysis
  • Failed surgery, when the symptoms are not relieved
  • Leaking of the spinal liquid

Recovery after Artificial Disks Replacement

Depending on spinal curve where the surgery was done it may take slightly different time to recover. After cervical disk replacement most patients can go home in 1-2 days after surgery, whereas lumbar disk replacement requires more time for recovery but even here you may start walking already in first day after surgery.

After you are discharged from the hospital, you should follow recommendation of your doctor. It is important to have reasonable physical activity early after surgery. Some gentle motions of the corpus can be beneficial. In case of cervical disk re0placement you may need neck support for time being.

It can take for 1-2 months for complete recovery.

Artificial Disks Surgery in Spine Center of Braunschweig

Artificial spinal disk implantation is the newest progressive method with a positive outcome but, currently, not so many clinics use it. The multidisciplinary team of surgeons, neurologists and orthopedist of Spine Center of Braunschweig introduce this modern method believing to its benefits. We are able to meet your personal requirement and design your individual treatment plane. Our principle is focusing on patient and giving the best of comprehensive approach practicing in Braunschweig Clinic. Please apply online for details and consultation with the best German spine specialists.

Department of Spinal Surgery
Chief Physician

Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

Professor MD Thomas Gösling

Chief Physician

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Statistics 2017
  • 1350 patient admission
  • 15 physicians
  • 44 medical staff
  • 1056 excisions of diseased intervertebral disc tissue
  • 172 bone replacements on the spine
  • 162 spinal fusions
  • 391 other operations on the spine
  • 248 osteosynthesis (dynamic stabilization) on the spine
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