An artificial intervertebral disc having a pair of opposing plate members for seating against opposing vertebral bone surfaces, separated by a spring mechanism. The preferred spring mechanism is at least one spirally slotted belleville washer having radially extending grooves. One plate member has a centrally located ball-shaped protrusion that is rotatably coupled in a central socket in the narrow end of the belleville washer, and the wide end of the belleville washer is held against the other plate member by a shield with rivets. Therefore, the disc assembly will not come apart under tension loads applied to the plate members, and the location of the ball joint coupling provides the disc assembly with a centroid of motion that is centrally located between the vertebral bone surfaces, both causing the disc assembly to behave similarly in these respects to a healthy natural intervertebral disc.
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