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Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty

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Evolution of Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty

Lumbar disc arthroplasty started in Europe with metallic spheres used to replace the disc. This however had mixed outcomes, and was largely not accepted within the spine surgery field. However, in the mid-1980s two scientists developed the Charite artificial disc, which has provided the basis of all disc arthroplasty since.

As with joint arthroplasty throughout the body, many current versions of disc arthroplasty use metallic endplates which affix to the vertebral bodies with plastic polymer interposition piece which allows for smooth movement in flexion and extension, as well as, side bending and rotation. The metallic implants now have rough texture and teeth on the back side of the implant to ensure that it does move from its intended position after implantation. Disc replacement surgery is done via an anterior approach (from the front) to the lumbar spine. This is due to the typically small space available in the posterior spine.

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