Discover Relief with Lumbar Disc Replacement

A Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery involves replacing a worn out or degenerated disk or herniated disc in the lower part of your spine with an artificial disc. Keeping our spines strong and aligned are important for the overall health of our skeletal structure. Our bodies move best from strong spinal health. Some traditional treatments for lumbar disc degeneration may include lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, medicine and epidural steroid shots.

What is Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery?

Lumbar disc replacement provides long-term relief from the pain that is caused by a damaged spinal disc. Surgery may be the best treatment option for patients who have not found relief from all other non-surgical options.

During a spinal fusion surgery, multiple spinal vertebrae are permanently bonded together. During a lumbar disc replacement surgery, the damaged spinal disc is removed and replaced with an artificial one, which allows for better overall mobility in the region and spine.

Unlike a spinal fusion, a lumbar disc replacement surgery won’t put additional pressure and strain on neighboring vertebrae, thus avoiding adjacent segment degeneration which is a common reason for repeat spinal surgery. A lumbar disc replacement surgery also allows the spine to maintain the ability to bend, twist and flex normally.

How Do I Know if I Need a Lumbar Disc Replacement?

Lumbar disc replacement surgery is often the best treatment for patients who suffer from back pain caused by disc degeneration, disc collapse and sometimes from disc herniation or disc bulging.

There are a number of symptoms that may lead a patient to need lumbar disc replacement surgery, such as:

A disc that has been damaged due to an injury
Disc degeneration
Disc herniation which is not amenable to microdiscectomy
Failed non-operative treatment modalities for at least 6 weeks.

A surgeon will need to run several diagnostic and imaging tests in order to fully assess your condition. Common preoperative assessments can include a thorough physical examination, evaluation of symptoms, and a detailed discussion of the patient’s pain levels, functional limitations, and treatment goals. Additionally, diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans are performed to assess the extent of disc damage, identify any spinal instability, and determine the presence of nerve compression. In addition, a bone density test is usually required prior to lumbar disc replacement surgery.

Who is NOT a Good
Candidate for LDR?

Lumbar disc replacement surgery is not recommended for patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe spondylolisthesis, fractures, spinal instability.

What are the Benefits of a Lumbar Disc Replacement?

Lumbar disc replacement surgery can provide dramatic relief for patients who suffer from degenerative disc disease, because the painful degenerative disc has been removed, the disc height has been restored and motion has been maintained.

Some highlighted benefits from a lumbar disc replacement surgery include:

Retaining the natural motion of the spine to bend and twist
Long-term pain relief
Improved alignment in the overall spine

Surgical Procedure:
Lumbar Disc Replacement

During a lumbar disc replacement surgery, a surgeon begins with a small incision in the abdomen. Organs and blood vessels are moved aside in order to access the spine. The problematic disc is removed. A new artificial disc is inserted in its place and the incision is closed.

Lumbar artificial discs are made of metal or a combination of metal and plastic. The selection of the appropriate artificial disc depends on various factors, including the patient’s specific condition, lifestyle, and the surgeon’s preference. The goal is to choose a disc that best mimics the natural disc function, provides long-term durability, and improves the patient’s quality of life after surgery.

Lumbar disc replacement surgery requires the assistance of anesthesia and a vascular surgeon. Dr. Cuéllar works very closely with an anesthesiologist in order to keep a patient comfortable throughout the surgery.

What is the Lumbar Disc Replacement Success Rate?

The research that has been done on lumbar disc replacement surgery’s long-term effectiveness is very impressive. The National Institute of Health ranks this procedure as over 87% effective for patients. Surveys have shown patients rank this surgery between 75%-90% effective. Lumbar disc replacement surgery allows many patients to maintain their way of life due to the fact that their range of motion does not become altered after surgery.

LDR Recovery and Rehabilitation

Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery Recovery Time
The recovery time after LDR surgery varies depending on the individual patient and the complexity of the procedure. Generally, patients can expect a recovery period of 3-4 months. During this time, they may experience some pain and discomfort, which can be managed through various pain management techniques such as medication, ice or heat therapy, and gentle exercises recommended by the surgeon or physical therapist.

Do You Need Physical Therapy After Lumbar Disc Replacement?
Patients may benefit from dedicated physical therapy after lumbar disc replacement surgery and the spine readjusts to a new disc. Physical therapy plays a vital role in the recovery process, helping to strengthen the supporting muscles, improve flexibility, and restore proper spinal alignment. It can also aid in reducing pain and promoting a faster recovery.

Pain Management Techniques & Advice
Following the guidance of the healthcare team and engaging in a comprehensive rehabilitation program can significantly enhance the recovery process and optimize the long-term outcomes of lumbar disc replacement surgery. Dr. Cuéllar is dedicated to the management of his patients’ pain post-surgery, and provides his patients with a clear set of expectations and medications for pain management throughout their recovery from lumbar disc replacement surgery.

Why Choose Dr. Cuéllar for Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery in Miami & Palm Beach County

Lumbar disc replacement surgery requires significant dedication to proper training and experience. Dr. Cuéllar not only devoted many years to this specific practice, but is one of the most highly sought after spinal surgeons in Miami and Palm Beach County.

Dr. Cuéllar spent many years dedicating his medical studies to spinal conditions. Specializing in disc replacement surgeries, Dr. Cuéllar is a trusted expert in the field of disc replacement surgery, and is one of the top specialists on the East Coast. In addition, Dr. Cuéllar has himself had lumbar disc replacement surgery and has therefore been through the entire process and knows exactly what his patients are going through and what to expect, being able to explain it from first-hand experience.

Selecting the right surgeon for your lumbar disc replacement surgery is one of the most important decisions you will make. Our spinal health is important. At Dr. Jason Cuéllar, M.D., not only does our team provide some of the best service and support in the field, but Dr. Cuéllar himself wants his patients to feel well-informed and supported with informed and devoted care.





“Attentive, knowledgeable, professional, and treats every patient with individual care! Saved my dad’s life with his minimally invasive procedure and his mindfulness of the medication my father was on before procedure. Thank you Dr. Cuéllar!”

- Eleena H.


Is there an age limit for lumbar disc replacement?

While there isn't a strict age limit, candidates for lumbar disc replacement typically fall within a certain age range, often between 18 to 60 years old. However, suitability for the procedure depends more on factors like overall health, spine condition, and lifestyle rather than age alone. Individuals older than 60 may still be considered if they are in good health and meet other criteria.

Is lumbar disc replacement worth it?

Lumbar disc replacement can be highly beneficial for eligible patients, offering significant pain relief and improved mobility compared to traditional spinal fusion surgery. It preserves motion in the spine, reducing the risk of adjacent segment degeneration and providing a more natural range of motion. However, the decision to undergo lumbar disc replacement should be made in consultation with a spine specialist after considering individual circumstances and treatment goals.

How long does a lumbar disc replacement last?

The longevity of a lumbar disc replacement varies among individuals and depends on factors such as implant design, patient activity level, and overall spinal health. Studies suggest that many artificial discs have a lifespan of at least 10 to 15 years, and some patients may experience lasting benefits beyond that timeframe. Regular follow-up with a spine specialist is essential for monitoring the implant and addressing any potential issues.

Can you live a normal life after lumbar disc replacement?

Yes, many patients can resume normal activities and enjoy improved quality of life after lumbar disc replacement. The procedure aims to alleviate pain, restore spinal function, and promote mobility, allowing individuals to engage in daily activities, work, and recreational pursuits with less discomfort and restrictions. However, adherence to post-operative guidelines and appropriate rehabilitation are crucial for optimal outcomes.

Does insurance cover artificial disc replacement?

Coverage for artificial disc replacement varies depending on factors such as insurance provider, policy terms, and medical necessity. In many cases, insurance plans may cover a portion of the procedure costs if it's deemed medically necessary and meets specific criteria outlined by the insurer. Patients are advised to check with their insurance provider and healthcare team to understand coverage details and potential out-of-pocket expenses.

Can you walk after a lumbar disc replacement?

Yes, most patients can walk shortly after lumbar disc replacement surgery, typically within a few hours to a day post-operation. Walking is encouraged as part of the early recovery process to promote circulation, prevent blood clots, and gradually regain mobility. However, individuals may need to follow activity restrictions and gradually increase their activity level under the guidance of their healthcare team.

How do you qualify for artificial disc replacement?

Qualification for artificial disc replacement depends on various factors, including the severity of spinal degeneration, overall health, spinal anatomy, and previous treatments. Candidates typically undergo a thorough evaluation, including imaging studies and medical history review, to determine eligibility for the procedure. Ideal candidates are typically those with single-level disc degeneration and good spinal alignment.

How many lumbar discs can be replaced?

While lumbar disc replacement is primarily indicated for single-level disc degeneration, some patients may be eligible for multi-level disc replacement in certain cases. However, the decision to replace multiple discs depends on factors such as the extent of degeneration, spinal stability, and overall health. A comprehensive evaluation by a spine specialist helps determine the most appropriate treatment approach for each individual.

What is the difference between lumbar fusion and disc replacement?

Lumbar fusion involves permanently joining two or more vertebrae together using bone grafts or implants to stabilize the spine and alleviate pain. In contrast, lumbar disc replacement preserves motion in the spine by replacing the damaged disc with an artificial implant, allowing for continued movement and flexibility. Disc replacement may offer advantages over fusion, such as reduced risk of adjacent segment degeneration and better preservation of spinal function.

What is the best surgery for degenerative disc disease?

For many patients with degenerative disc disease, lumbar disc replacement often emerges as the preferred surgical option. Unlike traditional fusion surgery, disc replacement preserves spinal motion and flexibility, reducing the risk of adjacent segment degeneration and maintaining a more natural range of motion. This approach can lead to improved long-term outcomes, including better preservation of spinal function and reduced need for additional surgeries. However, the decision between fusion and disc replacement ultimately depends on individual factors and should be made in consultation with a spine specialist to ensure the most appropriate treatment plan for each patient.


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