Artificial disk replacement


Artificial disk replacement or a lumbar disk replacement surgery refers to the type of back surgery, which involves replacing a degenerated or worn disk in the lower part of the spine with an artificial disk made up of medical grade metal and medical grade plastic. It helps the patient suffering from severe back pain get relief and is most commonly considered as the best alternative for spinal fusion surgery.

Not everyone suffering from back pain is the right candidate for this form of surgery. It depends on various tests performed by a doctor. Artificial disk replacement surgery is good for you if:

  • Your back pain is mostly coming from disk one or two of the spine.
  • You don’t have any compression on the nerves or any significant joint disease.
  • You aren’t overweight.
  • You weren’t a spine surgery candidate before.
  • You don’t suffer from any spinal deformity or scoliosis.

Artificial disk replacement Surgery

Before starting the surgery, your doctor will perform various tests to determine if you truly need artificial disk replacement surgery, which involves imaging tests like X-ray, MRI and CT scan to know the source of your back pain or any other spinal damage. This helps in pinpointing the exact defect and deciding the best treatment plan. During these tests, you may ask any questions and talk to the doctor about your current medications and previous health conditions. You will be advised earlier not to eat or drink a few hours before the procedure.

The procedure starts by giving you general anesthesia where a team of surgeon involving a vascular surgeon, an orthopedic or a neurosurgeon will be present. The first step will be making an incision in your abdomen and then your blood vessels and organs will be moved to access your spine.

Your damaged disk will be removed from its place and the new one will be placed. Once done, the incision will be closed and you will be taken to recovery suite for close monitoring. The whole procedure usually takes few hours to complete and you need to spend 2-4 days in the hospital.


Similar to any other surgery,artificial disk replacement also poses some risks. And as it is a highly invasive surgery, it may include some greater risks. Some of the potential risks of artificial disk replacement surgery involve:

  • Infection around the surrounded area of the artificial disk
  • Dislodgement of dislocation of the new disk
  • Fracture or implant failure
  • Loosening or wear of the implant
  • Stiffness or rigidity
  • Stenosis
  • Joint disease
  • Obesity

There may be some complications as well with people associated with any other medical conditions.

Post operative care

Since the artificial disk replacement does not require a bone to heal, recovery could be faster than other back surgeries. You will be encouraged by the doctors to stand and walk just after the first of the surgery.

There may be few exercises given to you for your midsection, which will allow your spine flexible and help you recover faster.

You will need to avoid any harsh activities for quite a while. The recovery may still take few weeks or even months, depending on how well you respond to treatment.

An artificial disk replacement surgery helps you relieve from pain, but it won’t completely eliminate it.

Artificial disk replacement surgery is a routine procedure in some of the best hospitals in India specializing in orthopedics and spine surgery.