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Artificial Spinal Disc Replacement Surgery Using activL® Artificial Disc

  • Published: 2018-03-07 : Author: Kevin Blaylock : Contact:
  • Synopsis: Surgeon at Oklahoma Spine Hospital first in Oklahoma City to perform activl artificial disc which provides patients with movement closer to the natural biomechanics of the healthy human spine.

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"The best advice I can give someone suffering from chronic low back pain is to consult with a surgeon who has experience with both fusion and lumbar total disc replacement..."

Oklahoma Spine Hospital and Neuroscience Specialists have just announced the successful implantation of a new artificial spinal disc replacement device by Brian Snell, MD. Snell is the first surgeon in Oklahoma City to perform this type of surgery using the Aesculap Implant Systems activL® Artificial Disc with Intelligent Motion Technology™.

The activL Artificial Disc is designed for use in the lumbar spine and is intended to treat patients with chronic back pain caused by one-level degenerative disc disease. In contrast with other treatments such as spinal fusion, activL Artificial Disc is designed to more closely mirror the natural movement of the healthy human spine following surgery.

"In well-selected patients, motion preserving procedures can be a better option for patients than fusion," said Snell, who performed the first surgery using the activL Artificial Disc on November 27, 2017 at Oklahoma Spine Hospital. The patient, Mark Snodgrass, suffered from chronic low back pain for over three years and had previously considered spinal fusion.

"Dr. Snell mentioned lumbar total disc replacement as an alternative approach to treating chronic low back pain," said Snodgrass. "I really wanted to stay away from fusion, and Dr. Snell decided that I was indicated for disc replacement instead."

"The best advice I can give someone suffering from chronic low back pain is to consult with a surgeon who has experience with both fusion and lumbar total disc replacement," said Snell. "Mark is young and had symptomatic, one-level degenerative disc disease. He also had significant back pain over many years and had failed non-surgical therapies, all of which made him an ideal candidate for this type of procedure."

"We knew there was no guarantee I would wake up from surgery feeling good as new, but I did wake up free from the nagging back pain I had experienced for the past three years," said Snodgrass. "I'm excited about my future. If you've been in my shoes with years of low back pain, you understand how big it is to look forward to a day without pain."

"We're excited to partner with Oklahoma Spine Hospital as the first practice in the region to embrace this breakthrough procedure." said Snell. "Based on outcomes from the activL Artificial Disc clinical trial and our own patient feedback, we believe that the activL Artificial Disc represents the next generation of spinal disc replacement technology."

Clinical studies for activL Artificial Disc have demonstrated increased range of motion, lower pain scores and a faster return-to-work rate than for other artificial disc replacement products. The activL Artificial Disc features cobalt chromium endplates which affix to the patient's vertebrae with bone-sparing spikes for initial stabilization. It is the first lumbar artificial disc with a mobile ultra high molecular weight polyethylene core that supports both controlled translational and rotational movement similar to the movement of the healthy lumbar spine.

The Aesculap Implant Systems activL Artificial Disc is indicated for reconstruction of the disc at one level (L4-L5 or L5-S1) following single-level discectomy in skeletally mature patients with symptomatic degenerative disc disease (DDD) with no more than Grade I spondylolisthesis at the involved level. DDD is defined as discogenic back pain with degeneration of the disc confirmed by patient history, physical examination and radiographic studies.

The activL Artificial Disc is implanted using an anterior retroperitoneal approach. Patients receiving the activL Artificial Disc should have failed at least six months of nonoperative treatment prior to implantation of the device.

Oklahoma Spine Hospital and Aesculap Implant Systems, LLC

Oklahoma Spine Hospital - Built in 1999, Oklahoma Spine Hospital (OSH) began as a collaborative effort between several pain and spine physicians. Their goal was to remove administrative obstacles typical of large hospitals, but still be fully capable of handling a wide range of care. Owned and operated by the same physicians who practice here, Oklahoma Spine is able to put patient and physician needs first. Every expense goes towards the best possible facility and staff. Attracting staff that specialize in spine care has allowed Oklahoma Spine Hospital as a whole to become experts in our field, something uncommon for larger facilities.

Aesculap Implant Systems, LLC - A B. Braun company, is part of a 175-year-old global organization focused on meeting the needs of the changing healthcare environment. Through close collaboration with its customers, Aesculap Implant Systems develops advanced spine and orthopedic implant technologies to treat complex disorders of the spine, hip and knee. Aesculap Implant Systems strives to deliver products and services that improve the quality of patients' lives. For more information, call 800-234-9179 or visit

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