The lower back has five lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5) separated by cushiony discs. In the spinal column the lumbar vertebrae are actually the weight bearing part of spine and thus more susceptible to degeneration and wearing with our age.
During a lumbar disc replacement surgery, these degenerated discs that create gaps between the vertebrae, restricting our lower back motion, are replaced with artificial ones. The artificial discs are either made up of metal and or combination of metal and a high quality plastic.
The purpose is to replace the diseased disc relieving you from severe low back pain and keeping your normal spinal motion.
When you should choose lumbar disc replacement?
Replacement surgeries are always the last resort to treat the low back pain. Most of us experience low back pain at some point of life which may be due to various abnormal activities in the lower spinal muscles, discs, nerves, or tendons etc. These can be treated through non-operative methods such as medications, therapeutic exercises, massages etc. If your CT scan, X-ray, and MRI reports indicate serious degeneration of intervertebral disc in the lumbar region, your doctor may recommend disc replacement.
But even before prescribing the surgical option for your lower back’s extreme discomforts, your doctor will evaluate the other treatment options and your medical state, such as intensity of the lumbar problem (stage and type of disc abnormality, bone quality etc.), age, and other health condition.
The success of disc replacement surgery much depends upon selecting the right type of patient who could benefit from the replacement surgery.
Surgeons have performed successfully both partial and total lumbar replacement surgeries. The studies have shown patients with good bone quality treated with total lumbar disc replacement showed highly positive results. They were back to normal life movements and even later took up variety of sports activities.
To know more on as who should go for lumbar disc replacement surgery, its complications, and recovery process read Disc Replacement Surgeries