I am inquiring about finding a Dr. who does the artificial disc replacement using the M6 method. It is my understanding that it is being done in Germany at the present time but I would like to know if there’s anyone doing this in the US. Plese advise.
The M6 disc has not yet been approved for implantation in the United States. The design of the disc probably solves some design problems with the currently approved discs but at a price to be paid (doesn’t everything?).
The current discs on the market allow motion but not shock absorption which is an important component of natural discs. The currently approved discs have two surfaces that are not physically attached to each other. These two surfaces slide on each other in a “ball and cup” design. What creates the stability in the current discs are the ligaments and remaining annulus in the implant disc space.
The M6 disc has shock absorption as a component of its design. The M6 disc has both surface components attached to each other by the central core. This design allow shock absorption but substantially increases the stress on the two surfaces that “attach” to the bone of the corresponding vertebral bodies. Will loosening occur with higher activity requirements (impact activities, contact sports or falls)? The jury is still out.
In addition, even for the current USA available artificial disc replacements, insurance companies approve implantation in only about 50% of the cases. These insurance companies certainly will not approve of implantation of the M6 disc at this time.