Sagittal Cervical Alignment After Cervical Disc Arthroplasty and Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: Results of a Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Study Design.

Radiographic results of a multicenter, prospective randomized study comparing 1-level cervical total disc replacement (TDR-C) with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Objective.

To evaluate the effect on device-level lordosis, cranial and caudal adjacent level lordosis, and overall cervical sagittal alignment (C2–C6) after TDR-C or ACDF.

Summary of Background Data.

Cervical total disc replacement (TDR-C) has emerged as a promising alternative to ACDF in a select group of patients. The maintenance and/or improvement of sagittal balance is essential in preserving functionality after reconstructive spinal procedures. Recent studies have documented changes in spinal alignment after TDR-C, however, no studies have compared these changes to those noted in matched group of patients that have undergone ACDF.

Methods.

Radiographic data were obtained from the randomized group of a multicenter, randomized, prospective, controlled study comparing TDR-C (ProDisc-C, Synthes Spine, West Chester, PA) with ACDF in the treatment of 1-level cervical disc disease. Complete radiographic data were available for 89 TDR-C patients (average age: 42.2 years) and 91 ACDF patients (average age: 41.7 years). Cervical lordosis at the device level, cranial and caudal adjacent levels, and total cervical lordosis (C2–C6) were independently measured before surgery and 2 years after surgery using custom image stabilization software (Quantitative Motion Analysis, Medical Metrics, Inc, Houston, TX).

Results.

C5–C6 was the most common operative level (TDR-C: 54%; ACDF: 55%). At 2 years after surgery, the TDR-C group experienced statistically significant changes in lordosis of 3.0° (P < 0.001), 0.90° (P = 0.006), and −1.9° (P < 0.001) at the operative, cranial, and caudal adj-acent levels, respectively. ACDF experienced changes in lordosis of 4.2° (P < 0.001), 1.0° (P = 0.001), and −1.5° (P = 0.001), respectively. The between-group differences were significant at the operative level (P = 0.03) and the caudal adjacent level (P = 0.05). Total cervical lordosis increased in both TDR-C and ACDF by 3.1° and 3.8°, respectively (P = 0.49).

Conclusion.

In both TDR-C and ACDF, lordosis increased at the device-level, cranial adjacent level, and in total cervical lordosis, while lordosis decreased at the caudal adjacent level. Although ACDF facilitated a greater increase in device level lordosis (+1.25°) and less loss of lordosis at the caudal adjacent level compared with TDR-C (−0.39°), the clinical relevance of the small differences remain unknown.

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