Disk replacement - lumbar spine

Disk Replacement - Lumbar Spine

Disk replacement, also known as disk arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure used to replace the intervertebral disk between two adjacent vertebrae in the spine. It may be considered when non-surgical methods, such as medications, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, or chiropractic care do not provide relief.


Patients should discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure with their doctor prior to surgery. They should inform their doctor of any medical conditions or allergies they have. Tests, such as an MRI or X-rays, may be taken to assess the condition of the disk prior to surgery. The patient should arrange for a ride home after the procedure.


Disk replacement surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis. The patient is given general anesthesia and placed into a prone position. Small incisions are then made in the lower back. The disk is removed and replaced with an artificial one. The incisions are closed and a dressing is applied. The patient is monitored until the effects of the anesthesia subside.


There are two types of disk replacement surgeries: dynamic and static. Dynamic disk replacement uses a medical-grade artificial disk that is implanted between two vertebrae, allowing for slight motion, similar to a healthy natural disk. Static disk replacement uses a medical-grade disk that is implanted between two vertebrae, but does not allow any motion.


As with any surgery, there are some risks associated with disk replacement. These include infection, nerve damage, blood loss, and kidney and heart problems. It is important to follow the post-operative instructions given by the healthcare team.

Why Have Disk Replacement Surgery?

Disk replacement surgery can be considered to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Herniated disk
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica

The goal of the procedure is to reduce pain, improve quality of life, and reduce the need for medications.

When to Have Disk Replacement Surgery

Disk replacement surgery may be indicated when conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and medications, have not been successful in treating the patient’s condition. The decision to proceed with surgery should be made after discussing the patient’s condition and treatment options with their doctor.