Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

General Spine News

Artificial Disc Replacements: The Next Generation

Dr. Burger provides an update on artificial disc implants. The first disc replacement of this kind was tried in the early 1950s. Since that time new and better implants have been developed. Each new revision is called the next generation implant. Research has shown that the new disc must be able to handle load and movement at the same time.

The following facts are offered based on research from around the world:

  • The best candidate for disc replacement is between 35 and 45 years old.
  • Results are better if only one disc is involved.
  • At least half of the disc space must be available.
  • There can't be any tumors or infections present.
  • The bones must line up correctly without any shifting forward, a condition called spondylolisthesis.
  • Putting the artificial disc in the right place is the key to successful surgery.

    The future of artificial disc replacement is going to rely on matching materials with the bone. The less bone damage, the better the results. Right now disc implants are only for a select few patients. In the future more patients will be able to benefit from this treatment.

    Evalina L. Burger, MD. Lumbar Disk Replacement: Restoring Mobility. In Orthopedics. April 2004. Vol. 27. No. 4. Pp. 386-388.


    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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