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Q. If I have surgery to take out a disc in my back, what will replace the disc that the doctor removes?
A. Usually, surgeons do not remove the entire disc. Instead, they take out just the material in the middle of the inside of the disc. After a simple discectomy surgery, scar tissue fills the area where disc material has been removed.
When a fusion using a bone graft is needed, the disc is taken completely out and the bone graft is put in place of the disc between the two vertebrae. In an anterior interbody fusion surgery, a metal cage may be used in place of the disc between the vertebrae. Total disk replacement (TDR) may be a solution for some people with degenerative disc disease as an alternative to spinal fusion. TDR can reduce the risk of bone graft donor site pain and pseudarthrosis (sewd- arth-row-sis), which is improper movement of a joint after healing. One of the artificial discs with the longest clinical history is the CHARITÉ® Artificial Disc. Approved in August 2006, Prodisc the first FDA approved artificial disc on the market. It has been approved for use in patients that have one diseased disc in the lumbar area of the spine. Click here to learn more about the CHARITÉ® Artificial Disc.