Total Disc Replacement

Sherwin Hua, MD

Neurosurgeon located in the Bay Area, California

If you have a spinal disc that’s beyond repair and causing severe pain or disability, total disc replacement could provide the relief you seek. Board-certified neurosurgeon Sherwin Hua, MD, is a world-renowned pioneer in spine surgery and welcomes patients from throughout the Bay Area to his DimeSpine Neurosurgery practice, which has locations in Campbell, Hayward, San Francisco, and San Jose, California. Dr. Hua provides expert total disc replacement surgery for suitable patients, many of whom could benefit from his patented DimeSpine minimally invasive surgical technique. Find out more by calling DimeSpine Neurosurgery today or request an appointment online.

Total Disc Replacement Q & A

What is total disc replacement?

Total disc replacement is a form of spine surgery that involves replacing the entire intervertebral disc with an artificial implant.

It’s a treatment option that could be suitable for you if you have a definite diagnosis of degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc. Initial treatments for these conditions are typically nonsurgical interventions that include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Epidural steroid injections

Most patients who have degenerative disc disease, or a herniated disc, respond well to a conservative treatment approach. However, if you’ve been following a well-managed program for six months or more and your symptoms still aren’t improving, you could be a good candidate for total disc replacement surgery.

Dr. Hua assesses each patient individually to ensure they have a good chance of benefiting from total disc replacement. Certain conditions might make total disc replacement a less favorable option. These conditions include spondylolisthesis (where one vertebra is slipping on another) or lumbar spinal stenosis (where there’s a narrowing of your spinal canal). 

How is total disc replacement carried out?

Dr. Hua can access the lumbar discs through your back, where it’s possible to retract the nerves to reach your spine. He can do this using minimally invasive surgical techniques he’s perfected that only require an incision the size of a dime.

In your neck, Dr. Hua can’t retract the nerves or spinal cord to reach the discs. That means he has to take an anterior approach and go in from the front. It’s still possible to use minimally invasive techniques for your surgery using this method.

Is total disc replacement better than spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is the standard approach to stabilizing the spine after a discectomy (removal of the disc). It involves filling the space left by the disc with a bone graft that Dr. Hua fuses onto the vertebrae either side of the space.

Spinal fusion is highly effective in alleviating the pain caused by degenerative disc disease and herniated discs. However, fusion does have one drawback, which is that it results in a reduction in normal spinal flexibility.

Total disc replacement provides a solution because the artificial disc mimics the properties of your natural discs. This not only helps you move more freely but relieves strain on the other vertebrae and prevents further deterioration. That means people who’ve had total disc replacement are less likely to need more surgeries in the future.

To find out more about the benefits of total disc replacement and whether you’d be a suitable candidate, call DimeSpine Neurosurgery today or request an appointment online.