The idea of lumbar disc replacement is similar to replacing other joints such as a hip or knee in your body due to damage or overuse. Hundreds of thousands of hip and knee replacements are now commonly performed each year on patients. The technology has progressed to where surgeons can now implant a lumbar artificial disc into your spine. The procedure potentially allows for greater movement (compared to a traditional spinal fusion) and possibly faster recovery times.
Perhaps the greatest long-term advantage of a lumbar disc replacement over a fusion is decreasing the risk of rapidly wearing out a disc above or below a spinal fusion and avoiding additional surgery. This is the so-called “domino effect.”
The ProDisc-L was part of a FDA IDE study between October 2001 and June 2003. There were 232 patients at 17 sites across the United States. The ProDisc received FDA approval in 2006. The ProDisc is a spherical joint articulation. The endplates are composed of chrome cobalt, which articulates with an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. Please visit the Synthes ProDisc website for more information on their clinical studies and FAQ.