Artificial discs can help treat the pain and disability caused by degenerative disc disease.
Lumbar disc replacement surgery involves removing a diseased disc from the lower part (lumbar region) of your spine and replacing it with a metal or metal and plastic implant. Sometimes, two discs need to be replaced.
The procedure helps to reduce pain and other symptoms, including numbness and weakness in your legs.
Is Lumbar Disc Replacement Right for Me?
In most cases, Rush spine specialists will first try addressing your symptoms with conservative treatments, including anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, facet joint injections and physical therapy. If these therapies don't help, your spine specialist may recommend surgery.
Lumbar disc replacement is a major surgical procedure, performed under general anesthesia, that requires you to spend two to four days in the hospital. You will likely be able to return to your normal routines within a few weeks and recover completely within a few months.
You may be a good candidate for lumbar disc replacement if the following are true:
- Your back pain stems from only one or two discs
- You are not obese and don't have any other serious surgical risks
- You don't have significant joint disease or nerve compression
- You haven't had any previous spinal surgeries
- You don't have a spinal deformity, such as scoliosis
Depending on your condition, spinal fusion may be a better option for you than disc replacement. With a spinal fusion, your surgeon permanently joins together — or fuses — two or more of your vertebrae. Rush spine surgeons are often able to perform spinal fusion surgery minimally invasively,
Your spine surgeon will discuss all of your options and determine which procedure will give you the best results based on your condition, lifestyle and personal goals.
Rush Excellence in Lumbar Disc Replacement
- Experienced spine surgeons: When it comes to disc replacement surgery, research shows that the experience of your surgeon can make a difference in how well you do. Spine surgeons at Rush were among the first in Chicago to perform both lumbar and cervical disc replacement, and we currently perform more than 2,300 spine surgeries each year.
- Convenient options across the Rush System: Rush has spine surgery locations throughout the Chicago area, from the western suburbs to Northwest Indiana. We also have spine neurosurgeons who specialize in only one area of the spine (e.g., only cervical spine surgery), as well as spine surgeons who treat multiple issues.
- Spine surgery innovation and research: Spine surgeons at Rush are leaders in spine surgery research and clinical trials. For instance, orthopedic spine surgeons at Rush have refined the ability to predict who would benefit from surgery and which surgery is likely to offer you the best results based on our past patients' outcomes. Our surgeons also help develop and test new surgical approaches, tools and implants, so you'll have access to innovative treatments before they are widely available.
- Nationally ranked programs: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center No. 4 in the nation for neurology and neurosurgery and No. 5 in the nation for orthopedics. Both programs are also ranked best in Illinois.