ABSTRACT: Lumbar fusion has been developed for several decades and became the standard surgical treatment for symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD). Artificial total disc replacement (TDR), as an alternative for spinal arthrodesis, is becoming more commonly employed treating lumbar DDD. It is still uncertain whether TDR is more effective and safer than lumbar fusion. To systematically compare the effectiveness and safety of TDR to that of the fusion for the treatment of lumbar DDD, we performed a meta-analysis. Cochrane review methods were used to analyze all relevant randomized controlled trials published up to July 2009. Five relevant randomized controlled trials involving 837 patients were identified. Patients in TDR group have slightly better functioning and less back or leg pain without clinical significance, and significantly higher satisfaction status in TDR group compared with lumbar fusion group at the 2-year follow-up. But these outcomes are highly influenced by the study with BAK cage interbody fusion, the function/pain and patient satisfaction status are no longer significantly different between two groups after excluding this study. At 5 years, these outcomes are not significantly different between comparing groups. The complication and reoperation rate of two groups are similar both at 2 and at 5 years. In conclusion, TDR does not show significant superiority for the treatment of lumbar DDD compared with fusion. The benefits of motion preservation and the long-term complications are still unable to be concluded. More high-quality RCTs with long-term follow-up are needed.
European Spine Journal 04/2010; 19(8):1250-61. · 1.97 Impact Factor