Total Disc Replacement

Back in March, we talked about Tiger Woods and his spinal fusion surgery. In that blog, we discussed that Tiger opted to have the STALIF M-T Anterior Lumbar Integrated Interbody fusion implant placed. We now offer the STALIF fusion implant at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders.

For May’s two blogs, let’s discuss an alternative to fusion — total disc replacement. Dr. Tinley now offers the prodisc Total Disc Replacement for our patients from Fr. Worth and the surrounding areas. The prodisc system is the most successful, most researched total disc replacement system available.

What is total disc replacement?

When a patient has been suffering from chronic pain and alternative treatments have not had any success for at least six months, total disc replacement is an option to relieve patient’s pain and to allow the person to return to activity.

In total disc replacement, the entire vertebral disc, the cushion between two vertebrae consisting of the outer membrane (the annulus) and the inner portion (the nucleus), is completely removed and is replaced by an artificial disc. The artificial disc is made up of two plates with a polyethylene inlay in the middle. The implant is designed to allow physiological range of motion in the spine.

The first total disc replacements approved by the FDA in the early 1990s were only for the lumbar spine, the lower five vertebrae heading into the hips. In 2009, the FDA then approved the first cervical disc replacement for the C3-C7 vertebrae in the neck.

Motion is the goal

The idea of having total disc replacement instead of spinal fusion is one of motion. The artificial discs made by prodisc and implanted by Dr. Tinley are designed to maintain the physiologic range of motion in the spine. For both the prodisc C (cervical) and prodisc L (lumbar), the implant was developed using the clinically proven ball and socket concept used in joint replacement implants for over 40 years. The fixed center of rotation in the implant allows physiological range of motion while providing stability to the spine. This significantly reduces the need for additional operations on the adjacent vertebrae above and below the implant, as can be required in fusion surgeries in later years.

The prodisc implants are composed of three components — two cobalt chrome alloy endplates and an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene inlay. The implant is inserted into the vertebral bodies as a single piece.

What total disc replacement aims to do

  • Remove the diseased disc
  • Restore normal disc height
  • Decompress surrounding neural structures
  • Potentially provide motion in affected vertebral segment
  • Improve patient function

Now you know there is an alternative to fusion to solve chronic back pain. In this month’s second blog, we’ll talk more about the prodisc C and L implants and why Dr. Tinley uses these at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders.

If you have questions about your back pain, please call us at (817) 916-4685, and come see Dr. Tinley.

Posted in: Back Pain

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