Artificial Disc Replacement Specialist

Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center

Spine & Orthopedic Surgeon in Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks, and Washington, PA

Motion preservation is a revolutionary approach to back surgery that allows you to retain the natural flexibility in your spine that otherwise might be lost if you have vertebrae fused together. If you're facing the prospect of undergoing surgery, trust minimally invasive spine surgery specialist Jocelyn Idema, DO, at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center. She is an expert in motion preservation techniques, such as the use of artificial replacement discs. Call the practice in Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks, and Washington, Pennsylvania, today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment using the online form.

Artificial Disc Replacement


Lumbar Disc Replacement from Green Gorilla Medical on Vimeo.

What is motion preservation?

Motion preservation is an approach to spinal surgery that enables you to keep as much natural movement as possible following your procedure.

The traditional approach to many spine conditions is fusion, where the surgeon permanently joins more than one vertebra. Spinal fusion uses bone grafts or artificial materials with similar properties. The bone fits between the vertebrae where a spinal disc would normally sit.

Screws, rods, and plates made of metal are often used to hold the bones in place, so the separate vertebrae become a single piece of your spine. This type of surgery can be very effective in stabilizing the spine and easing pain, but it rules out the possibility of movement in the fused vertebrae.

Motion preservation is a way to avoid lost mobility from fusion surgery. Techniques such as endoscopic discectomy and microdiscectomy can help you avoid spinal fusion. If you do have to undergo surgery, Dr. Idema can use cutting-edge artificial discs that ensure motion preservation.

How does motion preservation surgery work?

Motion preservation surgery involves replacing a diseased or damaged spinal disc with an artificial disc made of metal, plastic, or a combination of the two. The artificial disc mimics the construction of your natural spine, so you retain a degree of movement after your surgery.

There are two types of artificial discs:

Total disc replacement

Total artificial disc replacement consists of both the inside of the disc (nucleus) and the outer shell (annulus). The disc uses a mechanical device to mimic the natural spine rotation and give you normal spinal function.

Disc nucleus replacement

Disc nucleus replacement involves replacing the nucleus with a mechanical device while leaving the annulus. This is a far less common approach than total disc replacement.

To perform motion preservation surgery, Dr. Idema removes the damaged disc in small pieces, which takes the pressure off of the affected nerves. Once the diseased disc is taken out, Dr. Idema makes some tiny incisions in the vertebrae where the artificial disc is going. These incisions hold the new disc in place.

Who can have motion preservation surgery?

Motion preservation surgery could be suitable if you have a condition that's causing nerve compression, such as:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet joint osteoarthritis
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Spine injury

When you see Dr. Idema, she assesses your condition and advises you whether motion preservation surgery is a good option. In most cases, motion preservation surgery isn't suitable for patients who have scoliosis, those who've had previous spinal surgery, or patients who are morbidly obese.

To find out more about motion preservation surgery, call Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center today or book an appointment online.