Cervical Total Disk Arthroplasty

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Abstract

In the United States, cervical total disk arthroplasty (TDA) is US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved for use in both 1 and 2-level constructions for cervical disk disease resulting in myelopathy and/or radiculopathy. TDA designs vary in form, function, material composition, and even performance in vivo. However, the therapeutic goals are the same: to remove the painful degenerative/damaged elements of the intervertebral discoligamenous joint complex, to preserve or restore the natural range of spinal motion, and to mitigate stresses on adjacent spinal segments, thereby theoretically limiting adjacent segment disease (ASDis). Cervical vertebrae exhibit complex, coupled motions that can be difficult to artificially replicate. Commonly available TDA designs include ball-and-socket rotation-only prostheses, ball-and-trough rotation and anterior-posterior translational prostheses, as well as unconstrained elastomeric disks that can rotate and translate freely in all directions. Each design has its respective advantages and disadvantages. At this time, available clinical evidence does not favor 1 design philosophy over another. The superiority of cervical TDA over the gold-standard anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a subject of great controversy. Although most studies agree that cervical TDA is at least as effective as anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at reducing or eliminating preoperative pain and neurological symptoms, the clinical benefits of motion preservation— that is, reduced incidence of ASDis—are far less clear. Several short-to-mid-term studies suggest that disk arthroplasty reduces the radiographic incidence of adjacent segment degeneration; however, the degree to which this is clinically significant is disputed. At this time, TDA has not been clearly demonstrated to reduce symptomatic ASDis.

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