PURPOSE: Low back pain is a significant socio-economic problem which is expected to deepen. Degenerative disc disease is considered to be one of its main causes. Unsuccessful conservative treatments usually lead to surgical treatments, including methods providing pain relief by vertebral fusion in the affected segment. However, this leads to changes in biomechanics, which is why approximately 30 years ago total disc replacements appeared. This work aims at determining the current state of treatments with this kind of replacement, comparing the results with those of fusion methods and assessing why fusion continues to dominate. Current treatments of degenerative disc disease by advanced procedures (regenerative and gene therapy, 3D printing) is also examined and evaluated, and future developments are considered. METHODS: A critical review based on available scientific articles from online databases. The main keywords used were "lumbar", "total", "disc" and "replacement", supplemented according to the individual, monitored areas ("follow-up", "fusion", "future" etc.). For the articles found through database search (n = 895), narrower selection was made and the result was 33 articles included in review. REVIEW: Total disc replacements have not yet satisfactorily demonstrated that they are superior to fusion methods in long term follow-up. Advanced methods are in their infancy. CONCLUSIONS: Additional research and development of total disc replacements is still necessary. For implants, the 3D scan - 3D model - 3D printing chain and its related technologies are increasingly important. The development of regenerative procedures using induced pluripotent stem cells and gene therapies is important, but conservative treatments and primary prevention should also be developed because regenerative procedures and gene therapies apparently will not be used routinely until the future.