September 8, 2016 by: Luis Manuel Tumialan MD
​​​​​​​Degenerative Disc Disease


When people in the greater Phoenix area experience issues with back pain and spinal mobility, they can count on our practice to offer advanced treatment. This means considering the latest surgical techniques to relieve pain and restore a person's mobility whenever possible. When it comes to dealing with disc problems, lumbar artificial disc surgery may be an ideal option to consider. Let's take a look at surgery for the intervertebral discs and whether or not an artificial disc may be ideal for you.
What Are the Intervertebral Discs?
The invertebral discs are the small spongy structures located between the vertebrae of the spinal column. They serve as joints, allowing for movement of the spinal column while also absorbing shock in the process.

You may be most familiar with the invertebral discs in the context of herniated discs (slipped discs) or disc degeneration. A herniated disc refers to instances in which the disc is compressed and pushed out from its normal position between the vertebrae. Disc degeneration, most commonly associated with degenerative disc disease, refers to the gradual wearing down of the discs as a result of the wear and tear of age.

What Is Intervertebral Arthroplasty/Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR)?
ADR is a surgery that involves the total replacement of the natural discs between the vertebrae with artificial discs. It is also known as total disc replacement (TDR) and is commonly used when address issues with the cervical spine (the neck area) or the lumbar region (the lower back).

ADR is commonly used as an alternative to spinal fusion surgery when the fusion process does not seem as viable an option for the wellness of a patient. ADR is relatively new, with the first disc implant approved for use in 2004. The disc implants are made of metal or metal with a plastic surface.

Ideal Candidates for Intervertebral Arthroplasty
The best candidates for artificial disc implants are between the ages of 18 and 60. They should have issues with spinal pain, typically associated with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. These candidates will typically have undergone non-invasive and minimally invasive therapies for their spinal pain problems with limited results.

It's important for these patients to be in good overall health and not suffer from medical problems that could make the procedure a health risk. It's also important for patients to have realistic expectations about the surgical treatment process and what it can achieve.

Spinal Fusion vs. Artificial Disc Replacement
Spinal fusion surgery is the most traditional and well-known treatment option for addressing issues with intervertebral discs. During the fusion surgery, adjacent vertebrae are fused together. This restricts the movement of the spine in that area, relieving pain in the process.

Tailoring Treatment to Your Needs
Obviously the decision to undergo spinal fusion surgery or to get an artificial disc placed cannot be taken lightly. During a consultation at our practice, we will carefully consider all of your treatment options, helping you make the ideal decision for you and your needs. Only by noting the exact nature of your back condition can the best surgical treatment option be determined.

Learn More About Spinal Surgery
To learn more about treating problems with spinal discs and what can be done to restore mobility and wellness, be sure to contact a skilled spinal surgeon and specialist today. We will work closely with you to ensure you receive the treatment you need.

Contact Us

If you are struggling with pain, weakness, loss of function, or other symptoms of spinal complications, contact Dr. Tumialán's office today.

Spine-Talks Featuring Dr. Tumialán