A Minimally Invasive Total Disc Replacement procedure (also known as Total Disc Arthroplasty) is considered an alternative to Spinal Fusion in instances where the goal is increased motion preservation in the vertebrae of the spine. The goal of this procedure is to alleviate the pain as a result of a diseased spinal discs as well as remove any structure that is causing irritation to spinal nerves.
This procedure involves the utilization of fluoroscopic visualization and guidance to ensure the precise location of instruments as well as enhanced visualization of the surgical area.
How Is It Performed
During a Minimally Invasive Total Disc Replacement procedure, a small incision is made at the level of the affected disc. Once the incision is made, small endoscopes or microscopes are placed between muscle fibers to allow for increased visualization of the area. The portions of the disc that are pressing onto the spinal nerves or have protruded into the spinal canal are removed using small surgical instruments. In some instances, bone spurs may have also formed in the disc area (osteophytes) and may contribute to spinal nerve irritation. These bone spurs will also be removed.
Next, the vertebral bodies are elevated to relieve the pressure on any impinged nerves. In the empty disc space, a prosthesis is attached to the vertebrae above and below the affected disc. This implant may be composed of either metal or plastic depending upon the location and severity of the spinal condition. Once the prosthesis has been attached to the vertebrae a flexible polyethylene spinal disc is implanted. This disc allows for a natural motion of the spine and does not create a single fused bone. The vertebrae above and below the implant create a housing and help maintain the stability and position of the implant.