Spinal disc implants

What should you expect if you need a spinal disc implant? Professor Rischke is one of the best spine surgeons in Switzerland and answered our questions about this procedure.

What should you expect if you need a spinal disc implant? Professor Rischke is one of the best spine surgeons in Switzerland and answered our questions about this procedure.

When do you recommend a spinal disc implant?

The primary indication for total disc replacement is degenerative disc disease at one more levels with chronic neck or low back pain that has not responded to 3 to 6 months of conservative therapy.

Further indications include slipped disc, acute neurologic deficits in the limbs that require surgical intervention, and post-discectomy syndrome after a microdisectomy procedure.

Patients with osteochondosis, spondylolisthesis or degenerative scoliosis are also candidates for viscoelastic total disc replacements, often in combination with a dynamic fixation device to reduce the deformity.

What is the advantage of a spinal disc implant in comparison with other spinal surgery methods?

In comparison to the fusion stabilization technique which removes the spinal function at the operated level, the viscoelastic total disc replacement, or VTDR, restores the normal range of motion and ensures the necessary stability of the affected motion segment while simultaneously providing a natural cushioning effect like the natural disc.

The VTDR works in combination with the spinal joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons to restore the natural functions and physiological axis of motion of a healthy spine.

A recent review of the data showed that the Quality of Life scores for viscoelastic total disc replacement patients are significantly better than for other TDR patients or fusion patients.

Prof. Dr. B. Rischke

How high is the success rate and will patients have a better life quality after the surgery?

In Switzerland, there is a mandatory registry of the department of health at the University of Bern. This compilation of clinical data for spine surgeries in Switzerland allows an in-depth review of patient outcomes.

A recent review of the data showed that the Quality of life scores (EQ-5D, SF-6D) for viscoelastic TDR patients are significantly better than those for other TDR patients or fusion patients.

Do you have any statistics of patients’ individual pain relief? Do disc implants really help to relieve the pain?

The viscoelastic total disc replacement relieves pain by restoring the height and function of a healthy disc. A European clinical study of the VTDR in 50 patients showed a significant reduction in patient pain scores at 2 years follow up.

Additionally, the SWISS registries record pain data for all patients. The viscoelastic total disc patient data shows that pain levels reduce to 0 for most patients by 2 and 3 years after surgery.

About Professor Rischke

Prof. Dr. med. B. Rischke PhD is a General surgeon, Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon and Spine Surgeon as well as the founder of Spine Centre Rischke, a leading spinal surgery clinic in Zurich, Switzerland.
Visit Website - Spine Center Rischke
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