Revolutionary new procedure an alternative to spinal fusion

With the FDA's recent approval of an artificial disc that makes spinal fusion "a thing of the past," one nationally renowned spine surgeon is receiving a flood of phone calls from patients interested in seeking relief from chronic back pain.

Rick Delamarter, M.D., medical director of The Spine Institute at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., is one of only a handful of surgeons authorized by the FDA to perform a state-of-the-art surgical procedure where patients are fitted with an artificial spinal disc to replace one that has become damaged or diseased.

Delamarter has performed more lumbar (lower back) and cervical artificial disc replacements than any other surgeon in the United States to date. Those who have undergone the procedure in clinical trials have reported that they now enjoy active lives and experience little, if any, pain.

Up until now, those with chronic back pain have had to seek relief by undergoing spinal fusion, which restricts movement and does not allow the patient to engage in an active lifestyle. Compounding the problem, those undergoing spinal fusion usually face future surgeries because of the pressure the fused vertebrae put on the spine.

"The FDA's approval this past week has opened the floodgates as those suffering from chronic back pain are seeking alternatives to the antiquated spinal fusion procedure," said Delamarter. "With an estimated four out of five Americans expected to experience back problems in their lifetimes, it is no wonder that so many people are showing interest in this new treatment modality."

The surgery involves making an incision just below the belly button and implanting the artificial disc into the spaces between the bones of the spine to replace damaged discs. The procedure returns spinal function to an optimal condition and dramatically reduces recuperative periods and post-operative complications. The device approved by the FDA this week helps those with lumbar problems.


  1. curious curious United States says:

    How does the disk stay in place without fusion?

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