Learn more about this new procedure offered by the University of Maryland Spine Center
What is the CHARITÉ™ Artificial Disc?
The CHARITÉ™ Artificial Disc (De Puy Spine, Inc.) is the first artificial spinal disc approved by the FDA to treat severe low back pain (single level degenerative disc disease) by replacing a damaged or worn out spinal disc with an artificial one.
The disc is a three-piece medical device made of two metallic endplates and a movable high-density plastic center that, once implanted, is designed to help align the spine and preserve its ability to move. Spinal discs help maintain the position of the spine and allow for the flexibility to bend and twist.
What are some common medical and surgical treatments for lower back pain?
Lumbar spinal fusion surgery is a common surgical treatment for low back pain or degenerative disc disease. While it is often effective in reducing pain, the surgery puts additional stress on the remaining mobile segments that may lead to adjacent segment degeneration and recurrence of symptoms. Common medical treatments for lower back pain include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and in some cases, spinal injections. Now, orthopaedic surgeons at the University of Maryland are using the CHARITÉ™ artificial spinal disc, which is the first motion preserving alternative to lumbar spinal fusion surgery.
What are the advantages of disc replacement surgery with the CHARITÉ™?
The CHARITÉ™ disc helps preserve motion and alleviate lower back pain. Results from a two-year clinical study of 375 patients showed that those with the artificial disc improved or maintained their range of motion and experienced less pain sooner compared with patients who had spinal fusion. Another advantage is that patients who have Charité have a faster recovery.
Who is a candidate?
The CHARITÉ™ artificial disc is an alternative to spinal fusion for patients that have one diseased disc (DDD) between L4 and L5 or between L5 and S1. DDD is a disc that has worn out or become injured and causes back pain.
The disc diseases would be confirmed by history and X-rays. Patients with DDD whose bones have moved less than 3 mm (0.12) may still receive the CHARITÉ™.
Candidates should have failed at least six months of treatment such as pain medication, injections, a back brace or physical therapy. And patients who have had some type of minor lower back surgery may still receive the CHARITÉ™. Your doctor can also help you determine if you are a candidate.
Who should not receive it?
The CHARITÉ™ artificial disc should not be used if:
What should I expect after surgery?
In most cases, immediately after surgery, your doctor will prescribe medications for pain and nausea, and your heart and lung function will be monitored.
Patients typically stay in the hospital overnight. You may be asked to wear a back brace or elastic bandage to support your abdominal muscles after surgery. After 6 to 12 weeks, your doctor will help you begin a physical therapy program.
A nurse will show you how to care for your wound before you are sent home, and your doctor will discuss a program to gradually increase activity.
How long will disc last?
Many implants have functioned properly for over 17 years within the body. Laboratory testing has also demonstrated significant durability over time, assuming an average of 340 bends per day. As with any implant, patient activity levels and lifestyle may have an impact on the durability of the disc.
What is the history of the CHARITÉ™ Artificial Disc?
The CHARITÉ™ artificial disc was originally developed at the CHARITÉ™ Disc Clinic in Berlin, Germany in the mid-1980's by leading orthopaedic spine specialists and the staff at Waldemar Link GmbH, a leading European based medical device manufacturer.
In 2003 DePuy Spine acquired the Link Spine Group, Inc., and gained exclusive worldwide rights to its principal product, the SB CHARITÉ™ Artificial Disc. The FDA approved the CHARITÉ™ artificial disc in October of 2004 after extensive review of the two-year U.S. clinical trial results. In addition to these studies, total disc replacement with the CHARITÉ™ artificial disc has been performed in Europe for over 17 years and has been used in treating thousands of patients worldwide with successful results.
This makes the CHARITÉ™ artificial disc the first and most clinically tested total disc replacement in the world. It offers an innovative surgical option to physicians for treating some patients with degenerative disc disease and related conditions.
Why come to the University of Maryland?
Orthopaedic surgeons at the University of Maryland have been specially trained in using the CHARITÉ™ artifical disc. The University of Maryland offers patients a multi-disciplinary team approach, with a comprehensive group of providers who specialize and care for patients who receive the CHARITÉ™ disc replacement. We have a team of orthopaedic and vascular surgeons, physical and occupational therapists and nurses who help patients mobilize post-operatively, and a dedicated team of pain management doctors that help with physical patient management following surgery.
Who should I call for more information?
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors, please call 410-448-6400 or 1-800-492-5538.