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A Journal on Neurosurgery

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Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 2015 June;59(2):169-80

language: English

Lumbar disc replacement: update

Heider F. C. 1, 2, Mayer H. M. 1, 2, Siepe C. J. 1, 2

1 Schön Klinik München Harlaking, Munich, Germany;
2 Paracelsus Medical University (PMU), Salzburg, Austria


Over the last decades, fusion of lumbar spinal motion segments has represented the mainstay of treatment of lumbar degenerative conditions which failed to respond adequately to conservative therapy. Increasing demands and expectations from patients as well as the necessity to avoid fusion related negative side effects such as adjacent level disc degeneration, considerable complication and reoperation rates, cranial facet joint violations, pseudarthrosis and others led to the development of motion preserving technologies such as total lumbar disc replacement (TDR). The first and rudimentary attempts to preserve motion of lumbar motion segments can be dated back to the early 1950s. Over the past two to three decades, a variety of new implants with different motion characteristics have been developed and introduced into the market. Despite of the extensive knowledge which has been gained in this field of research, insurers in the United States have refused to reimburse surgeons due to fear of late complications and reoperations as well as unknown secondary costs, which led to a global decline in the numbers of TDR procedures. The current literature review intends to provide a concise summary of the adequate indications for TDR as well as outcome determining factors and delineate the role of TDR in the currently available armamentarium for the treatment of low back pain (LBP) resulting from degenerative disc disease (DDD) without instabilities or deformities.

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