Cervical Fusion and Disc Replacement Treatment Options

The Two Techniques

Surgeons use two techniques to relieve symptoms of a degenerative cervical disc — cervical fusion surgery and cervical disc replacement surgery. Both can relieve pain, weakness, and numbness. The difference lies in the lasting effect on your range of motion.

FUSION AND ARTHROPLASTY

Dr. Jack Zigler presents the considerations when choosing cervical fusion or cervical disc replacement. Dr. Zigler is with the Texas Back Institute in Plano, Texas.
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CERVICAL FUSION SURGERY

A common surgical option for treating cervical disc degeneration is cervical fusion surgery. With cervical fusion, the surgeon removes the disc, inserts a plate and an interbody spacer, and then fuses the area between two or more vertebrae. Spinal fusion will reduce flexibility and range of motion, but may relieve pain and symptoms.

CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT 

With this option, the neck surgeon replaces the deteriorated disc with an artificial disc instead of a spacer and does not fuse the vertebrae. Cervical disc replacement may relieve symptoms while allowing a person to maintain their range of motion. 

CERVICAL FUSION AND ARTIFICAL CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT

The Prestige LP Cervical Disc has been evaluated in a clinical trial in the United States. The study was prospective (looking forward in time) and involved 545 patients with 280 patients receiving the Prestige LP Cervical Disc. The outcomes of those patients were compared to 265 patients who had received anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in a study that had been done earlier. Some of the results after two years of follow up are reported in the table below.1

Results at 2 Years PRESTIGE LP 1-Level ACDF

Overall Success

70.4 % or 159/224

63.2%  or 108/171

Average Degree of Motion

7.51 degrees of motion (range was 0 to 26 degrees) compared to 5.67 degrees prior to surgery

Rate of Additional Surgery at Treated Level

5%

8%

Median Return to Work

20 days sooner

Choosing Cervical Fusion or Disc Replacement

Speak to a doctor about the best surgical option available by:

  • Understanding the similarities and differences in the two techniques
  • Learning the benefits and risk of each technique
  • Considering your lifestyle and treatment goals
  • Discussing both techniques with your doctor

Once a person has gathered information and discussed options with their doctor, they will maximise their chances of a positive outcome.

1

Gornet, M. F., Burkus, J. K, Shaffrey, M.E., Nian, H., Harrell, F. E. Cervical Disc Arthroplasty with Prestige LP Disc versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: Seven-Year Outcomes. International Journal of Spine Surgery. doi: 10.14444/3024