The surgical implantation procedure is performed through an incision in the abdomen (similar to an anterior lumbar interbody fusion).
With this approach, the organs and blood vessels must be moved to the side. This allows your surgeon to access the spine without moving the nerves.
Usually, a vascular surgeon assists the orthopaedic surgeon with opening and exposing the disc space. Most surgeries take about 2 to 3 hours.
The disc replacement device may comprise the nucleus (center) of the disc while leaving the annulus (outer ring) in place, although this technology is still in an investigative stage.
In most cases, total artificial disc replacements substitute the annulus and nucleus with a mechanical device that will simulate spinal function.
There are a number of different disc designs. Each is unique in its own way, but all maintain a similar goal: to reproduce the size and function of a normal intervertebral disc.
Some of the discs are made of metal, while others are a combination metal and plastic, similar to joint replacements in the knee and hip. Materials used include medical grade plastic (polyethylene) and medical grade cobalt chromium or titanium alloy.