I had an artificial disc put in at the L3/4 level in my spine. Before the operation I had severe back pain. The back pain is gone, but now I have leg pain I didn't have before. Is this common?

Leg pain after artificial disc implantation isn't reported much, but it's fairly common. Doctors suggest the cause is over-distraction of the vertebral bones when inserting the implant.

The bones can handle the stretch, but the nerves can't. In the process, the spinal nerve roots get stretched setting off painful signals that may not go away. The doctor must choose just the right patients for this operation. Age, bone quality, and amount of disc space are all important factors.

This operation takes a skilled surgeon with technical experience. He or she must be able to place the disc exactly in place with just the right amount of tension on the bones.