Tag Archives: cervical radiculopathy

Cervical Radiculopathy: Cervical Disc Arthroplasty versus Fusion

For patients with cervical radiculopathy, total disc replacement using artificial disc devices that have become more widely used during the last 10 years presents a potential advance in treatment. It may preserve range-of-motion and decrease the need for later secondary surgery when compared to the standard anterior discectomy and spinal fusion. “Artificial disc devices can yield good results in the right patients,” notes Mark Knaub, MD, assistant professor and associate director of the Penn State Spine Center. However, Dr. Knaub explains that there are significant limitations to their usefulness: “These devices are not appropriate to use in patients with poor bone quality or disc disease affecting multiple levels, nor for patients with a pre-existing fusion, those who present with significant arthritis and those with already limited range-of-motion.” While clinical trials show improvement of symptoms with disc arthroplasty,1,2 there is controversy regarding whether a cervical disc arthroplasty can reduce the frequency of  reoperations, compared with fusion.

Images of: Patient is a healthy, active 40-year-old male with history of radiating right arm pain in a C7 nerve root distribution. He failed conservative treatment. (A) Pre-operative X-ray shows mild spondylosis at C6-7 with preserved disc height. (B) Pre-operative MRI shows a foraminal disc herniation at C6-7. Patient chose to undergo anterior cervical discectomy and disc replacement at C6-7 with complete relief of his right arm symptoms. (C) Follow-up X-ray at 2.5 years after surgery shows no evidence of device-related complications.

Patient is a healthy, active 40-year-old male with history of radiating right arm pain in a C7 nerve root distribution. He failed conservative treatment.
(A) Pre-operative X-ray shows mild spondylosis at C6-7 with preserved disc height.
(B) Pre-operative MRI shows a foraminal disc herniation at C6-7. Patient chose to undergo anterior cervical discectomy and disc replacement at C6-7 with complete relief of his right arm symptoms.
(C) Follow-up X-ray at 2.5 years after surgery shows no evidence of device-related complications.

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