Adjacent segment pathology affects 25% of patients within ten years of anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF). Laboratory studies demonstrate fused segments increase adjacent level stress including elevated intradiscal pressure and increased range of motion. Radiographic adjacent segment pathology (RASP) has been associated to ACDF in multiple statistically significant studies. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing anterior cervical discectomy and arthroplasty (ACDA) and ACDF have confirmed ACDF accelerates RASP. The question of greatest clinical interest is whether ACDA, artificial disc surgery, results in fewer adjacent level surgeries than ACDF. Current RCT follow up results reveal only non statistically significant trends favoring ACDA yet the post operative periods are only two to four years. Statistically significant increased RASP in ACDF patients however is already documented. The RCT patients' average ages are in the mid forties with an expected longevity of up to forty more years. Early statistically significant increased RASP in the ACDF patients supports our prediction that given sufficient follow up of ten or more years, fusion will lead to statistically significant higher rate of adjacent level surgery compared to artificial disc surgery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine