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A lumbar disc replacement is a surgical procedure to remove a damaged disc in the lower spine and replace it with an artificial lumbar disc.

The lumbar spine is made up of the 5 vertebral bones and intervertebral discs between the rib cage and the pelvis. When one of these discs is damaged or pinches surrounding nerves, removing the diseased disc and replacing it with an artificial lumbar disc can relieve pain and restore spinal mobility.

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Types of Lumbar Discs

There have been a number of discs released, each with varying degrees of success rates when stress-tested in clinical trials. Current FDA-approved discs for the lumbar spine include the prodisc® L and activL artificial discs.

Below is a topline overview of the FDA-approved alternatives currently available.

Approved & In Use


The Prodisc®-L is approved for one or two level use in patients with single-level degenerative disc disease at either L3/L4, L4/L5 or L5/S1 who have failed at least six months of nonoperative care. It’s designed to help restore the natural distance between two vertebrae and the natural motion of the lumbar spine. It consists of three implant components; two metallic endplates and a plastic inlay.


Available in various sizes to fit, the ActivL® artificial disc is designed to allow motion at the treated level of the spine via a plastic insert that moves front to back within mixed metal endplates. It is approved for use at a single level. The goal is to provide pain relief while potentially allowing renewed motion of your lower back.


CHARITÉ® Artificial Disc

The CHARITÉ® Artificial Disc was the first total disc replacement device to be developed and tested, originally approved in 2004. The Type III version CHARITÉ® Artificial Disc has two highly polished cobalt alloy endplates on either side of an ultra-high molecular weight sliding polyethylene core. The endplates are porous so that bone can grow into and bond with the artificial disc. It was primarily used as a lumbar disc replacement and has since been removed from the market.

Off-Market European Devices


The M6-L has been designed to replicate the natural movement of the deteriorated disc, ensuring a controlled range of motion in all directions - side to side, up and down, front to back. It is the only artificial disc made with an artificial nucleus (polycarbonate urethane) and a woven fiber annulus (polyethylene). Inner and outer titanium endplates are coated with a titanium plasma spray, which promotes growth of bone into the metal plates to ensure long-term fixation and stability of the disc into existing bone.

Lumbar LP-ESP® Disc Prosthesis

The Lumbar LP-ESP® Disc Prosthesis applies leading technology that approximates all functions of the natural disc for optimal motion and stability, allowing your spine to function with the same natural flexibility. The LP-ESP® Disc is recommended for patients who have undergone treatment-resistant lumbar discopathy or who suffer from lumbar discopathy disease (following treatment of a herniated disc), and those who have radiculopathy due to a recurrence of a herniated disc. The titanium endplates are smooth, its shock-absorbing function alleviates pressure on adjaacent bone, and it’s made of 99 percent titanium which reduces the risk of allergic reaction.


Featuring Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) coated titanium plates, a porous titanium coating, 5 upper and 5 lower fins, the Baguera®L boasts a number of benefits. Designed for primary and secondary stability, this disc reduces artifacts under MRI, improves postoperative control, and is available with a mobile or fixed nucleus, allowing flexibility to choose mobility of the nucleus intraoperatively, without changing the superior or inferior plates. Its shape also enables shock absorption, however some rotational movement is restricted.

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