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|Artificial Lumbar Disc|| |
Artificial discs can help treat the pain associated with degenerative disc disease, a condition that affects an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 people in the United States each year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first artificial lumbar disc in October 2004.
The artificial disc is made up of three pieces—a sliding core and two metal endplates. The sliding core is made from a medical grade plastic (polyethylene), and the endplates are made from medical grade cobalt chromium alloy. These materials usually do not harm the human body and are used in many other medical implants such as total knee replacement implants.
While use of artificial discs is new in the United States, these devices have been used successfully in Europe for years. Several studies report the percentage of patients returning to work at 67 to 89 percent. Patients followed in these studies experienced significant pain relief and increased activity levels.
The results from the study conducted in this country to gain FDA approval show similarly positive results. Patients who received the artificial disc maintained flexibility, experienced improvements in pain and function, left the hospital sooner and were more satisfied with the procedure. The studies compared groups of patients receiving either the artificial disc or traditional fusion surgery. The rates of complications were similar for the two groups.
Until recently, use of the artificial disc was limited to patients between the ages of 18 to 60 with lower back pain caused by a single-level degenerative disc. Now that the device is FDA approved, trained surgeons can use the device, when appropriate, to treat patients of any age with either single- and multiple-level disc degeneration. In addition, some patients who experience sciatica, or pain that radiates down the leg, along with back pain, will be able to receive the implant.
To schedule an appointment with a surgeon at Rush trained to implant the lumbar artificial disc, call (888) 352-RUSH.