Artificial Disc Replacement (Arthroplasty)

Artificial disc replacement is among our specialties at Tampa General Hospital’s Neuroscience Institute. The regional leader in minimally invasive spinal surgery, TGH’s neurosurgeons incorporate advanced technologies like spinal navigation systems and robotic techniques into everyday practice to achieve world-class outcomes for patients.

Spinal discs are rubbery pads that feature soft, gel-like cores. They’re situated between each vertebrae (the bones of the neck and back) and serve as the spine’s shock absorbers. Artificial disc replacement—also known as a disc arthroplasty—involves removing all or a portion of a damaged spinal disc and replacing it with an artificial device to restore spine height and stability.

Who Needs Artificial Disc Replacement?

Artificial disc replacement may be a viable treatment option for people with certain spinal injuries or degenerative spine diseases. Most commonly, it’s used to address:

  • Degenerative disc disease, in which a disc is significantly worn from osteoarthritis or everyday wear and tear
  • Damage to the disc, which may include an annular tear, bulging disc or herniated (ruptured) disc

The result of a worn or injured disc is often painful spinal nerve compression, which can lead to disruptive pain, numbness, tingling sensations and reduced mobility.

Surgical treatments like artificial disc replacement are typically only considered after a patient has explored conservative treatments such as physical therapy and medication without success.

What Does Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery Involve?

TGH offers a minimally invasive approach to artificial disc replacement to help streamline the recovery period and reduce post-operative discomfort. With the assistance of special surgical instruments, the surgeon accesses the damaged disc through a small incision. Depending on the patient’s condition, the entire disc may be removed or just its center (nucleus). The removed structure is then replaced with an artificial device and the incision is closed.

What Should I Expect From Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery?

Artificial disc replacement surgery usually takes around two hours to complete and may require a hospital stay of one to three days. Many patients are able to stand and walk the day after their surgery. To achieve the best outcome and return to regular activities as efficiently as possible, it’s essential to carefully follow all recovery guidelines provided by your care team.

Become a TGH Patient

TGH performs more complex spine surgeries than any other hospital in Florida and is designated as a Top 10% in the Nation for Neurology and Neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report for 2024-25. If you’re struggling to cope with neck or back pain and want to consult with an expert about your surgical treatment options, call (800) 822-3627 to schedule an appointment at Tampa General Hospital’s Neuroscience Institute.