If one or more lumbar discs are determined to be the source of chronic back pain the choices are spine fusion across the painful discs or artificial lumbar disc replacement. Artificial disc replacement keeps the disc mobile and is shown to cause less stress on the adjacent disc (adjacent segment degeneration) as compared to spinal fusion.

Discogenic back pain treated by artificial lumbar disc replacement.



A 39 years old male who had low back pain for 10 years, was treated conservatively initially, and then twice received epidural injections of steroids with no relief. He then underwent discography (where a contrast material is injected into the disc suspected to be the source of pain as a provocative test) that confirmed that the source of his back pain was his degenerated disc at L4-5. He underwent a single level lumbar disc replacement and is now symptom free 5 years later.



                                                           Encircled degenerated L4-L5 disc
























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