What Is an Artificial Disc?


Prestige® Cervical Disc

An artificial disc is a prosthetic device inserted between the vertebrae to replace a natural spinal disc. It is designed to preserve mobility throughout the treated vertebral segment.

When non-surgical therapies fail to provide relief from acute disc herniation, your doctor may recommend spine surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove all or part of a damaged disc (discectomy), relieve pressure on the nerves and/or spinal cord (decompression), and to restore spinal stability and alignment after the disc has been removed.

Traditionally, spinal fusion has been the gold standard for surgically treating disc herniation or degenerative disc disease. Using bone grafts and instrumentation, such as metal plates and screws, this procedure fuses, or creates a bond between, two adjacent vertebrae. This will ideally stabilize the spine segment and provide pain relief.

This procedure has been successful in many patients. However, spinal fusion results in loss of motion and flexibility in the treated vertebral segment.

As an alternative to spinal fusion, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure called artificial disc replacement. This is a type of joint replacement procedure, or arthroplasty, that involves inserting an artificial disc into the intervertebral space after a natural cervical disc has been removed.

The device is designed to preserve mobility within the disc space and throughout the treated vertebral segment. It is designed to function like a joint, providing motion (flexion, extension, side bending, and rotation) and alignment (height and curvature) of a natural disc.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 7 May 2014

Section Navigation

Additional information

Contact Us

Medtronic International Trading Sàrl
Case postale
Route du Molliau 31
CH-1131 Tolochenaz
work Tel. +41 (0)21 802 70 00