The benefits of lumbar disc replacement include motion at the damaged level and no transfer of stress to other levels. However, as of 2015, these advantages are theoretical as it is a new surgery that hasn't been performed enough to know all the complications that may occur, according to About.com.
Some of the known complications with lumbar disc replacements are disc breakage, infection and further problems caused by the wearing down of the plastic. In several European studies, 75 to 85 percent of patients had positive results with the operation, reports About.com. However, these studies lasted only a year and long-term results are not fully investigated, as of 2015.
This surgery is similar to other joint replacement operations. The surgeon removes the damaged disc and replaces it with a metal and plastic copy. The copy is designed to have the motion of a regular spinal disc, as opposed to spinal fusion which decreases mobility of the spine, notes About.com.
Lumbar disc replacement has recently been approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration, and may become a standard treatment for low back pain as research progresses. Although, most of the studies for this operation are being conducted in Europe, according to About.com.