Two Thumbs Up for CHARITE'™ Disc Replacement
Lumbar artificial disc replacement (ADR) is a new development in spinal care. So far results have been positive, but most studies have been small in number. In this study 304 patients from 14 centers around the United States compared patients treated with ADR versus spinal fusion.

Only one kind of ADR was used: the CHARITE'™ artificial disc. This ADR is made up of two cobalt-chromium endplates and a polyethylene core. The fusion group had an anterior (from the front) fusion using titanium cages. The damaged disc is removed. Donated bone from the pelvis is ground up and put inside the cage. The cage is inserted into the open space between two vertebrae.

Results were measured using pain and function. Patients were followed for up to two years after the operation. Here's what they found:

  • Patients in both groups got better.
  • Patients in the ADR group got better faster.
  • Patients in the ADR group had more function at every follow-up check.
  • Patients in the ADR group were much happier with their treatment.
  • The hospital stay was much shorter for the ADR group.
  • More patients in the ADR group went back to work.

    The authors started out thinking the ADR group would do just as well as the fusion group. They found out the ADR group had superior results from day one up to two years later. They concluded that ADR is a safe and reliable alternative treatment to fusion for disc degeneration.
    Scott Blumenthal, MD, et al. A Prospective, Randomized, Multicenter Food and Drug Administration Investigational Device Exemptions Study of Lumbar Total Disc Replacement with the CHARITE'™ Artificial Disc Versus Lumbar Fusion. Part I: Evaluation of Clinical Outcomes. In Spine. July 15, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 14. Pp. 1565-1575.