Multilevel cervical disc replacement versus multilevel anterior discectomy and fusion: A meta-analysis

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Background:Cervical disc replacement (CDR) has been developed as an alternative surgical procedure to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for the treatment of single-level cervical degenerative disc disease. However, patients with multilevel cervical degenerative disc disease (MCDDD) are common in our clinic. Multilevel CDR is less established compared with multilevel ACDF. This study aims to compare the outcomes and evaluate safety and efficacy of CDR versus ACDF for the treatment of MCDDD.Methods:A meta-analysis was performed for articles published up until August 2016. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective comparative studies associated with the use of CDR versus ACDF for the treatment of MCDDD were included in the current study. Two reviewers independently screened the articles and data following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis statement.Results:Seven studies with 702 enrolled patients suffering from MCDDD were retrieved. Patients who underwent CDR had similar operative times, blood loss, Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores, and Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores compared to patients who underwent ACDF. Patients who underwent CDR had greater overall motion of the cervical spine and the operated levels than patients who underwent ACDF. Patients who underwent CDR also had lower rates of adjacent segment degeneration (ASD). The rate of adverse events was significantly lower in the CDR group.Conclusion:CDR may be a safe and effective surgical strategy for the treatment of MCDDD. However, there is insufficient evidence to draw a strong conclusion due to relatively low-quality evidence. Future long-term, multicenter, randomized, and controlled studies are needed to validate the safety and efficacy of multilevel CDR.

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