Summary of Lumbar Artificial Disc Development

There are a number of disc replacement and other arthroplasty technologies in various stages of development and clinical trials in the US, including:

  • Total disc replacement
  • Nuclear replacement
  • Facet arthroplasty
  • Ligamentous augmentation
  • Biologic treatments

For spinal disc replacement, the big question that remains is whether it will in time become a gold standard treatment option for conditions that are currently treated by spinal fusion in the US. This happened for hip and knee replacements in the 1970's and 1980's, and today hip and knee joint replacement surgery is standard for treating debilitating pain and injury in these joints.

Conservative estimates are that 30% to 50% of present spine fusion surgeries will be replaced by spinal disc arthroplasty (joint replacement). More aggressive prognosticators believe that as much as two-thirds of the current lumbar spinal fusion market will be supplanted by disc replacement or other arthroplasty technologies.

While there are many new products currently in development for spinal fusion surgery, and multiple new surgical approaches, procedures and techniques, many spine surgeons believe that various forms of artificial disc technologies hold promise for significantly improving the standard of care for many patients.

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Written by Jack Zigler, MD