Cervical kinematics and radiological changes after Discover artificial disc replacement versus fusion

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Changzheng Hospital, No. 415 Feng Yang Rd, Shanghai 200003, China.
The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society (Impact Factor: 2.43). 09/2013; 14(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.spinee.2013.07.432
Source: PubMed


The cervical disc arthroplasty has emerged as a promising alternative to the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in patients with radiculopathy or myelopathy with disc degeneration disease. The advantages of this technique have been reported to preserve the cervical mobility and possibly reduce the adjacent segment degeneration. However, no studies have compared the clinical outcomes and radiological results in patients treated with Discover artificial disc replacement to those observed in matched group of patients that have undergone ACDF.
We conducted this clinical study to compare the cervical kinematics and radiographic adjacent-level changes after Discover artificial disc replacement with ACDF.
Analysis and evaluation of data acquired in a comparative clinical study.
The number of patients in the Discover and ACDF group were 149 and 196, respectively.
The Neck Disability Index (NDI) and visual analog scale (VAS) pain score were evaluated. The range of movement (ROM) by the shell angle, the functional segment unit and global angles were measured, and the postoperative radiological changes at adjacents levels were observed.
A total of 149 patients with symptomatic single or two-level cervical degenerative diseases received the Discover cervical artificial disc replacement from November 2008 to February 2010. During the same period, there were a total of 196 patients undergoing one or two-level ACDF. The average follow-up periods of the Discover disc group and ACDF group were 22.1 months and 22.5 months, respectively. Before surgery, patients were evaluated using static and dynamic cervical spine radiographs in addition to computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Static and dynamic cervical spine radiographs were obtained after surgery and then at 3- and 6-month follow-up. Then, the subsequent follow-up examinations were performed at every 6-month interval. The clinical results in terms of NDI and VAS scores, the parameters of cervical kinematics, postoperative radiological changes at adjacent levels, and complications in the two groups were statistically analyzed and compared. No funding was received for this study, and the authors report no potential conflict of interest-associated biases in the text.
Although the clinical improvements in terms of NDI and VAS scores were achieved in both the Discover and ACDF group, no significant difference was found between the two groups for both single- (VAS p=.13, NDI p=.49) and double-level surgeries (VAS p=.28, NDI p=.21). Significant differences of cervcial kinematics occurred between the Discover and the ACDF group for both the single- and double-level surgeries at the operative segments (p<.001). Except the upper adjacent levels for the single-level Discover and ACDF groups (p=.33), significant increases in adjacent segment motion were observed in the ACDF group compared with the minimal ROM changes in adjacent segment motion noted in the Discover group, and the differences between the two groups for both single and double-level procedures were statistically significant (p<.05). There were significant differences in the postoperative radiological changes at adjacent levels between the Discover and ACDF groups for the single-level surgery (p<.001, χ(2)=18.18) and the double-level surgery (p=.007, χ(2)=7.2). No significant difference of complications was found between the Discover and ACDF groups in both single (p=.25, χ(2)=1.32) and double-level cases (p=.4, χ(2)=0.69).
The adjacent segment ROM and the incidence of radiographic adjacent-level changes in patients undergoing ACDF were higher than those undergoing Discover artificial disc replacement. The cervical mobility was relatively well maintained in the Discover group compared with the ACDF group, and the Discover cervical disc arthroplasty can be an effective alternative to the fusion technique.

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