Motion Preservation

Disc Replacement in the Spine

Learn about Colorado neurosurgery for motion preservation treatment

Total disc replacement is a surgical procedure in which the diseased or damaged intervertebral discs of the spinal column are replaced with an artificial disc to restore the normal function and movement of the spine. The discs in your spine are soft cushions that sit between each vertebra, which are the bones that make up the spinal column. Dr. Kimball and Dr. Robinson have experience performing cervical and lumbar artificial disc surgical procedures.

How does motion preservation work?

Total disc replacement is a relatively new procedure that has developed as an alternative to spinal fusion for patients who have neck or back pain from diseased or damaged intervertebral discs. Patients with neck or back pain caused from one or two intervertebral discs with no significant facet joint disease are recommended for artificial disc replacement.

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Total disc replacement surgery may be recommended in patients who:

  • Have neck or back pain from degenerative disc disease.
  • A condition of gradual degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae caused by the natural aging process that have not responded to non-surgical treatment options.


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Total disc replacement surgery is contraindicated in patients with:

  • Spinal infection
  • Osteoporosis
  • Allergy or sensitivity to implant materials
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal tumor
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of steroids for long duration
  • Previous spinal surgery
  • Morbid obesity

Diagnosis for motion preservation

Your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. Certain tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT or CAT scan), and X-rays may be recommended to determine the source of your neck and back pain. Your physician may also perform a discography, a procedure to determine which disc in the spine is causing pain. During a discography procedure, a special dye is injected into the disc, and then X-rays and a CT scan are taken to verify which disc is causing pain.

Total disc replacement procedure

The aim of total disc replacement is to replace the damaged painful disc while restoring motion to the spine and neck. Total disc replacement surgery is performed under general anesthesia and an X-ray is used to see a well-defined image of the disc to be replaced.

The degenerative or pain generating discs are carefully removed and replaced with motion preserving devices that maintain normal motion. This allows the spine, back, and/or neck to return to normal function much more quickly while absolving adjacent segment degeneration.

Contact us today at (720) 386-4508 to arrange an appointment.