The Future of Spinal Surgery is HereThe gold standard treatment for chronic back pain from disc degeneration is spinal fusion. The goal is to stop spinal motion causing the pain. Now artificial disc replacement (ADR) offers pain relief by keeping spinal motion.
In this article Dr. Thomas Errico from the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases reviews the use of ADRs. Disc replacement is also known as lumbar disc arthroplasty. The ADR is designed to allow normal or near normal spine motion. It also keeps the space or height between the two vertebral bones and acts as a shock absorber.
Newer ADR designs are trying to overcome problems with the earlier ADRs. More studies are needed to find out which patients are best suited for ADRs. Surgeons must learn new surgical methods. It takes time to learn how to use new tools made to install these implants.
Types of implants and the materials they are made of are described in this review. Dr. Errico calls the new ADRs the "promising beginning of a new era in spine treatment." Lumbar arthroplasty is in its infancy stages. Current studies will help guide patient selection and the best timing for disc replacement. The future of spinal health care is here.
Thomas J. Errico, MD. Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. June 2005. Vol. 435. Pp. 106-117.
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