Charité Artificial Disc - Clinical Results Tell the Story
Everybody has back pain at some time. Most cases can be treated with a little rest, pain medications, physical therapy, and exercise. However, for people with chronic pain caused by such conditions and degenerative disc disease, back pain can be severe and debilitating.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Intervertebral discs are the shock absorbers of the body. They are made up of a soft gel-like inner substance called the nucleus pulposus and a tough outer band called the annulus fibrosus. As we age, our discs lose moisture making it harder for them to absorb the stresses placed on the spine during everyday activities. Excessive strain or injury can cause the discs to bulge or rupture, allowing the vertebrae above and below the disc to move closer together and pinch or compress nerve roots in the spine. The result is chronic and sometimes severe pain. For advanced cases of degenerative disc disease, non-surgical treatment methods of pain relief are often not successful. For these patients, surgery may be necessary.
The Limits of Fusion
The most common surgical treatment for patients with degenerative disc disease is fusion with instrumentation. In this procedure, the spine is strengthened and stabilized by fusing vertebrae together using bone graft or a graft substitute. In addition, spinal instrumentation such as rods or screws are often used to hold the spine in place and help facilitate fusion.
Advancements over the years have improved fusion procedures, however its biggest disadvantage is that patients lose a certain amount of mobility and flexibility in their spines. To address this, spine surgeons have spent years looking for a way to restore damaged disc space and retain spinal movement.
The FDA approved the Charité Artificial Disc in October 2004.
Charité Artificial Disc
The Charité Artificial Disc has a sliding core made of medical grade plastic surrounded by 2 endplates made of cobalt chromium alloy. The endplates have rigid "teeth" that secure them to the vertebrae above and below the disc space. The sliding core fits snugly in between these endplates.
Charité Artificial Disc.
The biggest advantage to the artificial disc is that once implanted, the spine is still able to retain mobility and flexibility. Another important advantage to using an artificial disc is there is no longer a need for bone graft. In fusion surgery, bone graft is harvested from the patient's hip. For many patients, this is a major source of post operative pain.