Popular science reports that the latest thing in spinal prothetics is the “Charité”, a couple of low-friction polyethylene discs sandwiched between a pair of cobalt-chromium plates which will actually replace a disc in the lower back. This is expected to be approved for use in the US sometime in 2005.
update: the device is currently being used; the FDA did approve it. In fact, there is another device called the ProDisc that is expected to be approved “relatively soon,” according to the medcompare article.
Read the full Popular Science article here. the article is no longer there. Don’t you hate that?
Read a brief mention in PopSci’s Future Body section.
Read about it on BoingBoing.
Read a discussion of the Charité and alternatives on medcompare.com
Read a rather dry but informative article on medscape.com