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According to an article on the Healio Orthopedics website, “for total disc replacement in patients with degenerative disc disease, an artificial disc is a safe option that improves pain relief, function, range of motion and decreases in opioid use, according to published results.”

According to the study, researchers randomized 283 patients with symptomatic, single-level lumbar degenerative disc disease who had failed 6 months of nonsurgical management to receive either the activL (n = 218) or the ProDisc-L (n = 65). Outcome measures included safety profile, pain reduction, function, range of motion (ROM) and opioid use.

Nice wrote ‘The medical name for this procedure is ‘Prosthetic intervertebral disc
replacement in the lumbar spine’. Prosthetic intervertebral disc replacement in the lumbar spine involves removing the damaged disc and inserting an artificial disc in its place.

The damaged disc is partially or fully removed and an artificial disc inserted. The artificial disc is designed to act like a natural disc, allowing painless movement between the bones. Depending on the number of discs affected, a person may have one or more discs replaced at different places in the spine during the same operation.

NICE has said that this procedure is safe enough and works well enough for use in the NHS. If your doctor thinks artificial disc replacement is a suitable treatment option for you, he or she should
still make sure you understand the benefits and risks before asking you to agree to it.

In a study of 236 patients, 161 were treated with artificial discs and 75 with spinal fusion. Three months after surgery, the patients who had disc replacement reported an improvement in their quality of life (measured using a questionnaire) of 87%, whereas those who had spinal fusion
experienced an improvement of 70%. However, at 24 months the difference between the groups was no longer significant.

Source: Nice and Healio Orthopedics

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