Lumbar Disc Replacement
in Orange County, CA

Lumbar disc replacement is a type of spinal surgery performed in the lower back where a worn or degenerated disc is replaced with an artificial one.

The Growing Epidemic of Lumbar Disc Degeneration

Lower back pain tends to be more common amongst people who are not fit – who do not have/use strong core abdominal muscles. In addition, for many people, working hunched over laptops and slouching exacerbates the problem. There is a growing epidemic of lumbar disc degeneration in our culture due to the use of computers and other devices, all of which put tremendous strain on our spines.

How common is the need for lumbar disc replacement in Orange County patients?

While spinal fusion is still a more commonly used procedure in Orange County and across the country, the number of lumbar disc replacement surgeries is on the rise. Patients across Orange County have been seeking Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., for his expertise and care related to this condition for over a decade.


What is Lumbar Disc Replacement?

The lumbar spine is located in the lower back. It begins below the chest and extends through the low back through five bones that connect to your triangular-shaped sacrum bone, which sits between the pelvis. 

A lumbar disc replacement surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure that replaces a diseased, damaged disc with a new, prosthetic implant. It is a motion-preservation surgery that allows for full range of motion at the joints postoperatively; unlike a fusion surgery which locks the bones in place.

Causes and Symptoms of Lumbar Disc Degeneration

Lumbar discs begin to degenerate due to a number of factors, including: 
trauma, lifestyle factors, genetics and aging. As we get older, intervertebral discs absorb shock less effectively because they dry out. 

The symptoms that occur due to a need for lumbar disc replacement are:

Spasms of muscle cramps in the lower back

Radiating pain that originates in the hip, buttock, and/or down the back of the leg

Chronic lower back pain

Intense pain flare ups in the lower back


Benefits of Lumbar Total
Disc Replacement

There are multiple advantages to lumbar disc replacement surgery over a traditional fusion, the most important being an increase in mobility. Disc replacement also offers better chances at a full recovery and poses less risk to the patient as it is a less invasive procedure.

Lifestyle advantages to lumbar disc replacement surgery include:

Retaining the natural movement of the spine

Better mobility

Restoration of spine alignment

Returned strength and flexibility to the region

Medical advantages to lumbar disc replacement surgery include:

Alleviation of pain

Decrease of inflammation in the region

Tingling, muscle weakness and numbness abatement

Return to a better quality of life

Is Lumbar TDR Right for Me?

Patients who suffer from chronic lumbar conditions targeted around 1-2 discs in the lower spine, without severely arthritic spinal joints, are generally good candidates for lumbar disc replacement surgery.

Ask your doctor if your lifestyle makes you a candidate for lumbar disc replacement surgery. Certain treatment options may make more sense than others, as lifestyle plays a significant role in determining the best outcome for patients.

Typically, patients with scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, or severe facet arthritis are not eligible for the surgical procedure.

If your chronic lumbar pain is severe enough that it has begun to impact your daily living, you may be a candidate for a lumbar disc replacement spinal surgery.


Lumbar Disc Replacement Surgery
in Orange County, CA

Many people live with chronic pain – around injury, or through aging, for example – but life with chronic pain does not have to be your norm. With Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., patients continue to find a renewed quality of life with minimally invasive spinal surgery options in Orange County, CA. If you suffer from chronic back pain, you may be a candidate for a lumbar disc replacement surgery. A lumbar disc replacement is a spinal surgery wherein a damaged, diseased or degenerative disc is replaced with an artificial one.

Some conditions caused by damage/injury in the lower spine include:

Severe facet joint degeneration, or, spinal joint arthritis


Spondylolisthesis, or, slippage of the vertebrae

Here is a step by step outline of a lumbar disc replacement surgery:

Patients are prepped for surgery with anesthesia. Your surgeon will first make an incision in your abdomen.

Your organs and blood vessels will be moved aside safely with the assistance of a vascular surgeon.

The damaged disc will be removed and replaced with an artificial one that is sized to your unique anatomy.

Your organs and blood vessels will be put back in place and the incision will be closed.

All patients at Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., are given a robust pre-operative assessment. This examination may include both physical exams as well as the evaluation of imaging.

Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D. performs surgery in a state-of-the-art facility and utilizes the most advanced cutting-edge technologies available when treating his patients. Dr. Smith leads his practice with compassion, and his team is highly attentive to his patients throughout each step of their journey in the process.

One of the best things you can do in order to achieve a speedy recovery from surgery is to prepare ahead of time. This may include: getting into better shape, committing to a full 8 hours of sleep every night, eating a healthy and balanced diet, stopping smoking, and arranging to have someone help you to prepare meals and take care of you for up to two weeks following surgery. By doing these things you will create the best scenario for yourself in the post-operative phase – a time in which rest, healing, and eventual commitment to PT are of the utmost importance.

Finding the Right Spine Surgeon
for Lumbar Total Disc Replacement

Patients have sought out compassionate care from Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., for a wide variety of spinal conditions and deformities for over 18 years. His expertise, talent and dedication qualify him as one of the most sought-after surgeons in Orange County and the nation. Your spinal health is something you will need to take intentional care with your entire life – your spinal surgeon should be someone you trust, with a proven and successful track record.

Ask your surgeon about your condition and treatment plan during your consultation:

Am I a candidate for this surgery or will non-surgical treatment options help me?

What should I expect in terms of movement and physical capabilities immediately after surgery and in the weeks to follow?

What is my pain management plan, post-op?

When can I begin my physical therapy treatment?

How long will this surgery last? 

Does my insurance cover this procedure?


Why Choose Spine Surgeon
Jeremy Smith

Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., has a very high rate of success with his patients and performs hundreds of spinal surgeries each year on patients ranging from temporary conditions to debilitating deformities. He often meets patients who are referred to him by others, after previous spinal surgeries have failed. Dr. Smith is the Division Chief of Spine Surgery and Chief of Staff at Hoag Orthopedic Institute of Irvine, CA, as well as Director of the Spine Surgery Fellowship Program for Hoag. He is a fellowship-trained doctor who specializes in disorders of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. He has seen a very high rate of success with lumbar disc replacement in his patients over the years.

What Patients Say:


    “Dr. Smith is not only <em>extremely compassionate</em> and caring, but a <em>talented and skilled surgeon</em>. He performed my second cervical fusion and will now do a posterior cervical fusion. <em>I am truly grateful</em> to have been referred to him with all of the pain I’ve suffered. I am certain that working together we will find the pain relief I so desperately need. <em>Thank you Dr. Smith!</em>”


      "I had spinal fusion surgery in 2019 from Dr. Smith. I was personally devastated. As an extremely active individual, I thought my life was over. Going into 2023, I'm in better physical shape than anytime in my life. As an avid cyclist I ride 100 plus miles harder and faster than anyone I know. I ski. I work out. I've had ZERO issues. If you ever want a pro bono testimonial I'm all in. Dr. Smith and team literally saved my life."


        "Thank you for truly saving my life on March 30, 2022. The pain I had was almost too over bearing for me that it sent me into a depression that was changing my whole life and not for the better. You and your staff and the entire hospital, treated me like a VIP/ aka.Princess and I’m eternally grateful that it all started with you, your wonderful PAs and your God blessed talents."

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Is lumbar disc replacement suitable for everyone?

        Generally speaking, lumbar disc replacements are best suited for patients with pain targeted around 1-2 intervertebral discs. However, your Orange County spine surgeon will know which treatment plan is best for your condition and your lifestyle.

        What sets Orange County apart in terms of spinal healthcare?

        Located in Orange County, CA, the Hoag Orthopedic Institute is one of the top-rated centers for orthopaedic and spine surgery in the country. HOI is one of the only exclusive orthopedic and spine care centers on the West Coast and is recognized for excellence in patient safety, outcomes and patient experience. Jeremy Smith, M.D. serves as the Chief of Spine Surgery at HOI.

        Are there any risks or complications associated with the procedure?

        As with any surgery, there are risks of blood clots, bleeding, infection, and other complications. Our team at Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., will take every precaution ahead of time and inform you of how to care for yourself before and after surgery to avoid these things.

        What is the success rate of lumbar disc replacement?

        Studies suggest that success rates for artificial and lumbar disc replacement range from 75.5% to 93.3% successful. Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., has a very high success rate with lumbar disc replacement surgery with his patients. View our testimonial pages and find our patients' stories speak for themselves.

        Can you live a normal life after a disc replacement?

        Not only do most patients live normal lives after a disc replacement, they live much improved, pain-free lives. A disc replacement restores strength, range of motion and flexibility to the spine, so patients can grow stronger and find relief from chronic pain.

        How long do artificial lumbar discs last?

        The goal of a lumbar total disc replacement is to last you a lifetime, with the average disc lasting up to 70 years. Speak with your surgeon about the risk of potentially requiring secondary surgery.

        IN THE PRESS

        Start your journey to a pain-free future.
        Contact us today.

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