Lumbar Disc ReplacementFor those suffering from lower back pain, the surgical answer has been lumbar fusion for many years. While lumbar fusion surgery is still highly-used and effective, a majority of doctors have switched to lumbar disc replacement in many cases. One of the primary reasons is that it does not require any bone fusion and generally leads to a quicker recovery.

Who is a Candidate for Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery?

Before doctors suggest lumbar disc replacement for patients, they first must decide if they are a good candidate. Lumbar disc replacement is usually recommended if:

  • The patient has had no previous spinal surgeries.
  • The source of the back pain comes from 1 or 2 discs.
  • The patient is not excessively overweight.
  • The patient does not have any spinal deformities, significant joint disease, or compression of the nerves.

How Does it Work?

Contrary to what you may think, the doctor actually accesses the spine through the abdomen. The surgeon then removes the damaged disc and replaces it with a new artificial unit. The incision is then closed, and the patient proceeds to recovery.


Lumbar disc replacement usually requires the patient to stay under medical supervision for a few days, while full recovery takes a few weeks to months.