DePuy Spine confirmed to Orthopedics This Week in March 2010 that it has ceased production of the Charité lumbar artificial disc in favor of an improved version, called the In Motion artificial disc. The Charité artificial disc was a revolutionary development in spinal technology, as it was the first commercial product for total replacement of diseased lumbar discs.
The original Charité disc was invented in the 1980s by Dr. Karin Büttner-Janz, MD, PhD, a former German Olympic champion. The implant is made of two metallic endplates and a plastic center that is designed to help align the spine and also maintain natural flexibility. By allowing the spine to bend and twist, the Charité closely mimics the role of a natural spinal disc. Prior to its development, the main surgical treatment for chronic low back pain from degenerative disc disease was lumbar spinal fusion surgery, which fuses together a spinal segment and in turn should decrease pain generated from that joint.
Since its FDA approval in October 2004, over 5,000 patients have received the Charité implant.
The new version of the disc, the In Motion artificial disc, retains the Charité’s essential features while incorporating minor modifications to facilitate insertion of the implant.