Private Lumbar Fusion vs Private Lumbar Disc Replacement

Private Lumbar Fusion vs Private Lumbar Disc Replacement

Private lumbar spinal fusion surgery and private lumbar disc replacement surgery is not offered in Canada.  There are options if you go to the US, however, not a lot of surgeons are trained to do them.    What is the difference between a lumbar spinal fusion and lumbar spinal disc replacement?  Let’s find out what each surgery encompasses and how they differ.  

What is a Lumbar Spinal Fusion?

Lumbar fusion is the surgery that uses artificial bone material and other substances so they heal into a single solid bone. This, over time, can improve the stability of the spine and eliminate pain, however, will limit the range of motion for that joint.

What is a Lumbar Spinal Disc Replacement?

A lumbar disc replacement differs in that the surgeon inserts an artificial disc in the disc space.  Lumbar disc replacement requires a very specific candidate due to long term outcomes, implant durability and possible very late complications.  It is best suited for a younger patient, under the age of 50, suffering from degenerative disc disease without any significant  facet joint degeneration, deformity, instability or osteoporosis or osteopenia.  They also must only have an isolated, 1-level disc disease with relatively normal anatomy above the diseased disc.

Disc Replacement vs Fusion Surgery

Lumbar disc replacement surgery is not widely used as it is a much riskier surgery than the cervical disc replacement.  It requires a very specialized surgeon and specific patient that meet certain criteria to do it.  It does however, have a success rate of more than 90%, whereas the spinal lumbar fusion surgery success rate is only 70-90%.

Those who are candidates for lumbar disc replacement surgery will have greater movement and mobility than a fusion.  It acts as a real disc and is designed to function as if it was a natural disc whereas lumbar fusion welds bones together not allowing for movement in that specific area.

Spinal fusion is known to create more stress on the vertebrae above and below the artificial disc.  With a disc replacement, the movement is naturally still there, which could reduce the risk for further disc degeneration in the future.

Spinal disc replacement surgery also has a much quicker recovery time.  Because you do not need to wait for the bones to completely fuse together, which can take several months, even up to 18 months, most people resume their normal activities within a 4-6 week time frame.  

It goes without saying that surgeons will absolutely error on the side of caution and exhaust all other treatments such as injections, physical therapy or simply time before jumping to surgery.

We have options with credible and experienced surgeons that can do both of these procedures.  If you are interested in a private lumbar spine surgery, give us a call to set up a consultation to see which procedure would be right for you.  You can reach us at 877-344-3544 or

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