Lumbar Arthroplasty

Lumbar disc degeneration is a common ailment treated by our neurosurgeons with an arthroplasty operation. Symptoms of lumbar disc degeneration include a continuous but tolerable pain that can occasionally flare up, is centered on the lower back, and can be exacerbated by certain bending or twisting movements. The pain associated with disc degeneration can be caused by proteins in the disc space irritating the surrounding nerves and/or when the outer rings of the disc are worn down and can no longer effectively absorb stress on the spine.

An arthroplasty is an operation to either restore, as closely as possible, or preserve the integrity and functional power of a disc using artificial implants or the creation of an artificial disc. An artificial disc is inserted between two lumbar vertebrae after the degenerated disc has been surgically removed. When artificial implants are placed, they are permanent.

A lumbar arthroplasty is performed on the lower spine to relieve pressure and pain in the low back area, including the cauda equine and/or on the nerve roots. The goal of this procedure is to provide spinal stabilization, long-term pain relief at the degenerated disc, as well as take preventative measures in decreasing the possibility of an adjacent spinal disease.

The surgeons in the Department of Neurological Surgery perform hundreds of disc operations each year. We commonly perform these operations in a minimally invasive fashion using modern surgical microscopes and microsurgical techniques. Our patients are often operated upon as outpatients, while some patients may require a brief stay in the hospital. Most patients are dramatically improved by their surgical treatment and are able to resume active, productive lives.


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