Total disc replacement (TDR) may be a solution for some people with degenerative disc disease as an alternative to spinal fusion. Early research into artificial disc replacement began in the 1960s. Interest was renewed in the 1990s because of the complications sometimes caused by spinal fusion. Since then, research and design efforts on total disc replacement have increased significantly.
During disc replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged disc and replaces it with an artificial disc. The goals of total disc replacement surgery are to:
- Maintain segmental spinal motion
- Relieve pain and increase activity
- Restore disc height and proper spine curvature
- Reduce post-operative recuperation time
- Reduce risk of bone graft donor site pain and pseudarthrosis (sewd- arth-row-sis), which is improper movement of a joint after healing.