Spring 2005

Artificial Disc Training

UCSF Medical Center has been designated a training site to teach physicians to install the Charit artificial lumbar disc, which recently gained U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. It was the first artificial disc to receive FDA approval. Several others are currently in clinical trials.

Dr. Christopher Ames, a neurosurgeon, and Dr. Sigurd Berven, an orthopedic surgeon, are instructing visiting surgeons on implanting the artificial disc.

With an implant, the deteriorating disc is replaced with an artificial disc made of two metallic endplates and a movable high-density polymer center.

"In our clinical studies with artificial discs, we've had great results," Ames says. "For the millions of people who have degenerative disc disease and more conservative therapies have not worked, this represents a real breakthrough, with a shorter recovery time and increased mobility and flexibility over fusion."

Ames added that the artificial disc is not appropriate for everyone. The FDA has approved its use in adults up to age 60 who have a single degenerative disc in one of the two lowest lumbar discs and have never had a fusion operation.

Dr. Sigurd Berven can be contacted at (415) 353-2218. Dr. Chris Ames may be contacted at (415) 353-7500.

Physician Liaison Service

Phone (800) 444-2559
Fax (415) 353-4395
Email referral.center@ucsfmedctr.org

The Physician Liaison Service offers a communication link and referral coordination for referring physicians, medical groups and health plans. For assistance in the referral process, information about programs and services at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Children's Hospital, please call the Physician Liaison Service.

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