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Artificial Disc Replacement

Article written for “We’ve Got Your Back Magazine”

Artificial Spinal Disc Replacement

By Dr. James Rappaport

Some Doctors Claim to be Experts on the Subject of Artificial Disc Replacement. The doctors at Sierra Regional Spine Institute literally wrote the book on artificial disc replacement.

Spinal Disc Replacements Have a History of Success 

The inventor of the first FDA-approved artificial disc is an orthopedic surgeon named Karin Buttner-Janz of Europe. Being an Olympic and world champion gymnast she knew quite well the agonies and limitations of back pain related to the sport. Perhaps this is what motivated her to design, develop and implant the first successful artificial disc. This first artificial disc was placed in the back of a tennis player who continued to play tennis for years after surgery. 

First Medical Book on Artificial Spinal Disc Replacement

The first ever medical book on artificial disc replacement entitled "Motion Preservation Surgery of the Spine" was edited by James Eu from Yale University. The chapter "Cervical Disc Replacement" was published by the doctors here at Sierra Regional Spine Institute. Not only were they asked to contribute their expertise, but the research that has been performed and is currently being continued at Sierra Regional Spine Institute was featured in this brand new text book.  The doctors at Sierra Regional Spine Institute have had the most extensive experience in artificial disc replacement both in the neck and low back.  In fact, Sierra Regional Spine Institute is the only place in Nevada where the advanced third generation disc from SpinalMotion can be obtained.

Spinal Disc Replacement Was Invented by Orthopedic Surgeons

The entire area of disc replacement was invented by orthopedic surgeons who have had a long history in developing artificial joints. There is no reason why the spine should be thought of any differently than other joints in the body.  It would be unheard of these days to fuse a knee or hip.  Why do surgeons persist in fusing the spine?  At Sierra Regional Spine Institute, we believe that the future is restoration of anatomy and function through motion.  The artificial disc replacement is the answer to that problem. Sierra Regional Spine Institute continues to be a leader in Nevada when disc replacement surgery is needed.
Overall, the doctors at Sierra Regional Spine Institute are quite enthusiastic and pleased with the results of disc replacement.  As with any type of spinal surgery, the most critical factor is choosing the right procedure for the right patient.  Not everybody is a candidate for artificial disc replacement.  To ensure the best results a careful screening and evaluation must be performed and then the surgery must be performed with technical expertise.  Disc replacement patients have included people engaged from sedentary work to high-level athletics.  We have performed disc replacements on other doctors.  Disc replacements have been performed successfully on individuals in law enforcement and construction work.  The success rate in the lumbar spine rivals that of fusions.  In the cervical spine, the disc replacement success rate appears superior to fusions.  In both cases the surgery is less invasive than fusion surgery and hospital stays and rehabilitation are significantly shorter.

Spinal Disc Replacement is a Specialty of Sierra Regional Spine Institute’s Orthopedic Spine Surgeons

Since that time orthopedic spine surgeons have taken up the gauntlet of further developing the artificial disc.  The area of joint replacement is a specialty uniquely suited to the training of an orthopedic spine surgeon. The orthopedic spine surgeons at Sierra Regional Spine Institute can tell you if an artificial disc replacement would be the best option for your particular neck or back condition.