Lumbar total disc arthroplasty: outdated surgery or here to stay procedure? A systematic review of current literature

Matteo Formica, Stefano Divano, Luca Cavagnaro, Marco Basso, Andrea Zanirato, Carlo Formica, Lamberto Felli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to summarize the available evidence about total lumbar disc replacement (TDR), focusing our attention on four main topics: clinical and functional outcomes, comparison with fusion surgery results, rate of complications and influence on sagittal balance. Materials and methods: We systematically searched Pubmed, Embase, Medline, Medscape, Google Scholar and Cochrane library databases in order to answer our four main research questions. Effective data were extracted after the assessment of methodological quality of the trials. Results: Fifty-nine pertinent papers were included. Clinical and functional scores show statistically significant improvements, and they last at all time points compared to baseline. The majority of the articles show there is no significant difference between TDR groups and fusion groups. The literature shows similar rates of complications between the two surgical procedures. Conclusions: TDR showed significant safety and efficacy, comparable to lumbar fusion. The major advantages of a lumbar TDR over fusion include maintenance of segmental motion and the restoration of the disc height, allowing patients to find their own spinal balance. Disc arthroplasty could be a reliable option in the treatment of degenerative disc disease in years to come. Level of evidence: II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Complications
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar disc arthroplasty
  • Outcomes
  • Sagittal balance
  • Total disc replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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