Johnson & Johnson’s artificial spinal disc won U.S. approval for relieving severe low back pain, the company said Tuesday.
The metal-and-plastic disc, called Charite, is an alternative to surgery that fuses two bones in the lower spine.
Charite is the first artificial disc to reach the U.S. market. The product has been sold in Europe for more than a decade.
Johnson & Johnson said the disc relieves pain while helping to maintain mobility in the lower back. Experts hope long-term studies will show the device also reduces stress on adjacent discs — the shock-absorbing pads of cartilage between vertebrae.
Medtronic Inc., Synthes Inc. and privately held Spinecore also are developing artificial discs for the lower back as well as the neck.