Dr. Scott Blumenthal was the first Orthopedic Spine Surgeon in the US to perform an Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR) surgery. This life changing surgery has now helped over 1,400 Texas Back Institute patients. Recently SpineUniverse.com featured a blog post about the history of artificial disc replacement.
The History of Artificial Disc Replacement
How Long Has This Spine Procedure Been Used?
Submitted by Scott L. Blumenthal, MD on September 10th, 2012
Before performing the first ADR in the United States in March 2000, I did a lot of research on the procedure, including visiting with a number of surgeons in Europe as well as the inventor of the first FDA-approved ADR, Karin Buttner-Janz. Besides inventing the artificial disc, she is well-known for being an Olympic and world champion gymnast from East Germany.
Total disc replacement is an alternative to spinal fusion. It is an innovative process of surgically removing a damaged disc from the spinal column and replacing it with an artificial disc. This procedure can significantly benefit patients who suffer from herniated discs or degenerative disc disease with or without leg or arm pain.
Artificial disc replacement gives patients an opportunity to retain mobility in both the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine). By replicating the movement of a normal disc, ADR helps to alleviate adjacent disc degeneration minimizing the need for additional spine surgery due to disc degeneration or herniation.
Since 2000, a number of FDA studies of other artificial discs began enrolling patients in the United States. Over a dozen studies have been completed in the United States and currently there are four discs approved for use in the United States.
The FDA-approved disc available for the low back (lumbar spine) is the ProDisc-L. For the neck (cervical spine), the Bryan, Prestige, and ProDisc-C are available.
Looking forward to the future of artificial discs in America: at least a dozen or so discs are either currently in-trial or have completed the trials for FDA approval and will hopefully be available in the US soon.