Spinal discs act as cushions or shock absorbers for the vertebrae and are located between the bones or vertebrae of the spine. These discs are instrumental in rendering flexibility and movement of the spinal column. There are two major parts of discs namely, inner and outer portion. Inner portion comprises a jelly like material while stronger and fibrous material constitutes the outer portion of the discs. Due to aging, these discs are subjected to tear or crack in the outer portion resulting in degenerative disc disorders along with other complications such as bulging out in the inner portion of the disc resulting in pressure on the outer portion that leads to pain.
Artificial disc replacement procedure is performed to replace the worn out tissues while retaining the motion and functionality of the spine. This results in reduced back pain and low risk for development of an adjacent level of spine which is the degeneration of segments above or below the implant. An artificial disc, a prosthetic device is inserted between the vertebrae and results in replacement of natural and defective spinal disc. In cases of failure of non-surgical procedures, the doctors recommend spinal fusion surgery (traditional procedure) for treating disc degenerative disorders. Spinal fusion surgery involved the use of bone grafts along with screws and metal plates and results in fusion of two adjacent vertebrae resulting in stabilization of spine segment and reduces the back pain. However, it results in lack of movement and flexibility in the vertebral segment. Artificial disc replacement or arthroplasty is advantageous over the conventional surgical procedures as it retains the mobility within the disc space and throughout the vertebral segment.
There are two major types of artificial discs such as nuclear prosthesis (designed to replace inner core of a disc) and total disc prosthesis (designed to replace full disc). These discs are composed of man-made materials such as metal part of the disc and rubber polyethylene for the inner core. Artificial disc replacement is recommended in the following conditions:
In the U.S., the clinical trials for the use of artificial discs and the approval by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require around 5 years. However owing to earlier approvals and differences in the regulatory scenario, the rate of usage and adoption of artificial discs in European countries is considerably higher as compared to the United States. The market for artificial disc replacement can be analyzed on the basis of the indications for which the replacement procedure is recommended and also analyzed by a regional distribution of the market by four major geographies namely Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific and RoW.
The major factors favoring the growth of the market are consistent technological sophistications and increased benefits of artificial discs over the conventional spinal fusion procedures. In addition, the increasing number of patients suffering from disc degenerative disorders and increased affordability of the patients further fuel the growth of the market. On the other hand, unfavorable reimbursement scenario along with the risks associated with replacement procedures and lack of expertise in performing the procedure might hamper the growth of the market. Furthermore, high costs involved in R&D along with high procedure costs might negatively impact the growth of the market. Cervical disc Actif C (by Aesculap) is cervical disc prosthesis used to treat degenerative cervical disc disease and Alphate (Cervical disc Discovery), Cervical Disc Altia (by Amedica Corporation) and Discover (by Depuy-Synthes) are some of the artificial discs available in the market.