Top spine surgeons release patient guide for artificial disc replacement

Eeric Truumees

Those with back and neck problems can now download a free 20-page patient guide that outlines in detail when a person should consider artificial disc replacement.

The guide, called ‘Back in Motion’ and which can be found at, was created to provide an unbiased source of information to patients. It highlights the limitations of spinal fusion and how spine care is evolving as well as explaining that not everybody qualifies for an artificial disc.

Disc replacement in the low back, for example, is more complex and lumbar disc technology is still evolving. The guide lists the artificial discs approved by the FDA and which ones are approved for use at two levels in the neck.

It also outlines the red flag symptoms for when to see a doctor for herniated disc symptoms to prevent permanent weakness or numbness in a hand or foot.

President of the North American Spine Society (NASS) and spine surgeon at Texas Spine and Scoliosis in Austin, USA, Eeric Truumees, said: “The most current spine research from NASS has shown that artificial disc replacement can reduce the need for additional surgery at other levels in the neck.

“The traditional treatment for herniated discs has been spinal fusion.  But with spinal fusion, you are locking two vertebrae together. Research has shown that fusion puts extra stress on the discs above and below which can herniate those discs as well.

“The new research documents that with an artificial disc, you are preserving motion which lessens the risk to other disc levels. This is especially important in the neck as you only have six disc levels to preserve motion.

“The burden is on the patient to become well informed about their treatment options, and to research a second opinion when they are told they need spine surgery.

“It takes extensive training and experience to implant an artificial disc or perform minimally invasive spine surgery, and a relatively small percent of spine surgeons are proficient in that. If you live outside a large metro area, you may have to travel for the most advanced spine care.”



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