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Concept: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion


This paper presents a biomechanical analysis of the cervical C5-C6 functional spine unit before and after the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. The aim of this work is to study the influence of the medical procedure and its instrumentation on range of motion and stress distribution. First, a three-dimensional finite element model of the lower cervical spine is obtained from computed tomography images using a pipeline of image processing, geometric modelling and mesh generation software. Then, a finite element study of parameters' influence on motion and a stress analysis at physiological and different post-operative scenarios were made for the basic movements of the cervical spine. It was confirmed that the results were very sensitive to intervertebral disc properties. The insertion of an anterior cervical plate influenced the stress distribution at the vertebral level as well as in the bone graft. Additionally, stress values in the graft decreased when it is used together with a cage.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Vertebral column, Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Vertebra, Intervertebral disc, C, Cervical vertebrae


STUDY DESIGN:: Retrospectively study. OBJECTIVES:: To evaluate clinical and radiological outcomes of skip-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with self-locking stand-alone polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cages for the treatment of two noncontiguous levels of cervical disc degenerative disease (CDDD). SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:: The use of stand-alone PEEK cages in ACDF has been proved to be safe and effective to treat CDDD. For two noncontiguous levels of CDDD, skip-level ACDF with self-locking stand-alone PEEK cages, which fuses only the involved levels without anterior plates, may be the optimal treatment choice. METHODS:: Sixteen consecutive patients with two noncontiguous levels of CDDD underwent skip-level ACDF with self-locking stand-alone PEEK cages. Clinical outcomes were evaluated using Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores and Odom’s criteria. Fusion rate and time, cages subsidence, spinal curvature, intervertebral height at the operated level, and adjacent disc degeneration were assessed. RESULTS:: Patients were followed up for average 43.6 months (range 24-78 mo). The mean operative time was 113 minutes (range 98-134 min) with an average blood loss of 62 mL (range 47-76 mL). The JOA score, degree of spinal curvature, and intervertebral height were significantly increased at the final follow-up examination compared with preoperatively (P<0.05). Fifteen patients (93.8%) achieved solid fusion in an average time of 5.1 months. Three cages (9.38%) in two patients subsided. Radiological evidence of adjacent segment degeneration was observed in three segments (6.25%; two infra-adjacent segments and one intermediate segment). No case had neurological deterioration postoperatively. No implant failure or migration was observed during follow-up. CONCLUSIONS:: Treatment of two noncontiguous levels of CDDD with skip-level ACDF with self-locking stand-alone cages achieved good clinical and radiological outcomes including a high fusion rate, low complication rate, and excellent maintenance of spinal curvature and intervertebral height.

Concepts: Time, Arithmetic mean, Degenerative disc disease, Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Discectomy, Line, Segment, Deterioration


OBJECTIVE In an era of escalating health care costs and pressure to improve efficiency and cost of care, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) have emerged as lower-cost options for many surgical therapies. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is one of the most prevalent spine surgeries performed, and the frequency of its performance is rapidly increasing as the aging population grows. Although ASCs offer significant cost advantages over hospital-based surgical centers, concern over the safety of outpatient ACDF has slowed its adoption. The authors intended to 1) determine the safety of the first 1000 consecutive ACDF surgeries performed in their outpatient ASC, and 2) compare the safety of these outpatient ACDFs with that of consecutive ACDFs performed during the same time period in the hospital setting. METHODS A total of 1000 consecutive patients who underwent ACDF in an ACS (outpatient ACDF) and 484 consecutive patients who underwent ACDF at Vanderbilt University Hospital (inpatient ACDF) from 2006 to 2013 were included in this retrospective study of patients' medical records. Data were collected on patient demographics, comorbidities, operative details, and perioperative and 90-day morbidity. Perioperative morbidity and hospital readmission were compared between the outpatient and inpatient ACDF groups. RESULTS Of the first 1000 outpatient ACDF cases performed in the authors' ASC, 629 (62.9%) were 1-level and 365 (36.5%) were 2-level ACDFs. Mean patient age was 49.5 ± 8.6, and 484 (48.4%) were males. All patients were observed postoperatively at the ASC postanesthesia care unit (PACU) for 4 hours before being discharged home. Eight patients (0.8%) were transferred from the surgery center to the hospital postoperatively (for pain control [n = 3], chest pain and electrocardiogram changes [n = 2], intraoperative CSF leak [n = 1], postoperative hematoma [n = 1], and profound postoperative weakness and surgical reexploration [n = 1]). No perioperative deaths occurred. The 30-day hospital readmission rate was 2.2%. All 90-day surgical morbidity was similar between outpatient and inpatient cohorts for both 1-level and 2-level ACDFs. CONCLUSIONS An analysis of 1000 consecutive patients who underwent ACDF in an outpatient setting demonstrates that surgical complications occur at a low rate (1%) and can be appropriately diagnosed and managed in a 4-hour ASC PACU window. Comparison with an inpatient ACDF surgery cohort demonstrated similar results, highlighting that ACDF can be safely performed in the outpatient ambulatory surgery setting without compromising surgical safety. In an effort to decrease costs of care, surgeons can safely perform 1- and 2-level ACDFs in an ASC environment.

Concepts: Medicine, Patient, Hospital, Surgery, Physician, Anesthesia, Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Post anesthesia care unit



OBJECTIVE The authors compared the efficacy and safety of arthroplasty using the Prestige LP cervical disc with those of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for the treatment of degenerative disc disease (DDD) at 2 adjacent levels. METHODS Patients from 30 investigational sites were randomized to 1 of 2 groups: investigational patients (209) underwent arthroplasty using a Prestige LP artificial disc, and control patients (188) underwent ACDF with a cortical ring allograft and anterior cervical plate. Patients were evaluated preoperatively, intraoperatively, and at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. Efficacy and safety outcomes were measured according to the Neck Disability Index (NDI), Numeric Rating Scales for neck and arm pain, 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), gait abnormality, disc height, range of motion (investigational) or fusion (control), adverse events (AEs), additional surgeries, and neurological status. Treatment was considered an overall success when all 4 of the following criteria were met: 1) NDI score improvement of ≥ 15 points over the preoperative score, 2) maintenance or improvement in neurological status compared with preoperatively, 3) no serious AE caused by the implant or by the implant and surgical procedure, and 4) no additional surgery (supplemental fixation, revision, or nonelective implant removal). Independent statisticians performed Bayesian statistical analyses. RESULTS The 24-month rates of overall success were 81.4% for the investigational group and 69.4% for the control group. The posterior mean for overall success in the investigational group exceeded that in the control group by 0.112 (95% highest posterior density interval = 0.023 to 0.201) with a posterior probability of 1 for noninferiority and 0.993 for superiority, demonstrating the superiority of the investigational group for overall success. Noninferiority of the investigational group was demonstrated for all individual components of overall success and individual effectiveness end points, except for the SF-36 Mental Component Summary. The investigational group was superior to the control group for NDI success. The proportion of patients experiencing any AE was 93.3% (195/209) in the investigational group and 92.0% (173/188) in the control group, which were not statistically different. The rate of patients who reported any serious AE (Grade 3 or 4) was significantly higher in the control group (90 [47.9%] of 188) than in the investigational group (72 [34.4%] of 209) with a posterior probability of superiority of 0.996. Radiographic success was achieved in 51.0% (100/196) of the investigational patients (maintenance of motion without evidence of bridging bone) and 82.1% (119/145) of the control patients (fusion). At 24 months, heterotopic ossification was identified in 27.8% (55/198) of the superior levels and 36.4% (72/198) of the inferior levels of investigational patients. CONCLUSIONS Arthroplasty with the Prestige LP cervical disc is as effective and safe as ACDF for the treatment of cervical DDD at 2 contiguous levels and is an alternative treatment for intractable radiculopathy or myelopathy at 2 adjacent levels. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00637156 ( ).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Statistics, Surgery, Degenerative disc disease, Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Discectomy, Christopher Nolan, Intervertebral disc arthroplasty


Pseudarthrosis after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) causes persistent pain and related disability. Posterior revision surgery results in higher healing rates, but is more extensive compared to anterior surgery.

Concepts: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Discectomy, Neurosurgery



Object Cervical total disc replacement (TDR) is intended to treat neurological symptoms and neck pain associated with degeneration of intervertebral discs in the cervical spine. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) has been the standard treatment for these indications since the procedure was first developed in the 1950s. While TDR has been shown to be a safe and effective alternative to ACDF for treatment of patients with degenerative disc disease (DDD) at a single level of the cervical spine, few studies have focused on the safety and efficacy of TDR for treatment of 2 levels of the cervical spine. The primary objective of this study was to rigorously compare the Mobi-C cervical artificial disc to ACDF for treatment of cervical DDD at 2 contiguous levels of the cervical spine. Methods This study was a prospective, randomized, US FDA investigational device exemption pivotal trial of the Mobi-C cervical artificial disc conducted at 24 centers in the US. The primary clinical outcome was a composite measure of study success at 24 months. The comparative control treatment was ACDF using allograft bone and an anterior plate. A total of 330 patients were enrolled, randomized, and received study surgery. All patients were diagnosed with intractable symptomatic cervical DDD at 2 contiguous levels of the cervical spine between C-3 and C-7. Patients were randomized in a 2:1 ratio (TDR patients to ACDF patients). Results A total of 225 patients received the Mobi-C TDR device and 105 patients received ACDF. At 24 months only 3.0% of patients were lost to follow-up. On average, patients in both groups showed significant improvements in Neck Disability Index (NDI) score, visual analog scale (VAS) neck pain score, and VAS arm pain score from preoperative baseline to each time point. However, the TDR patients experienced significantly greater improvement than ACDF patients in NDI score at all time points and significantly greater improvement in VAS neck pain score at 6 weeks, and at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. On average, patients in the TDR group also maintained preoperative segmental range of motion at both treated segments immediately postoperatively and throughout the study period of 24 months. The reoperation rate was significantly higher in the ACDF group at 11.4% compared with 3.1% for the TDR group. Furthermore, at 24 months TDR demonstrated statistical superiority over ACDF based on overall study success rates. Conclusions The results of this study represent the first available Level I clinical evidence in support of cervical arthroplasty at 2 contiguous levels of the cervical spine using the Mobi-C cervical artificial disc. These results continue to support the use of cervical arthroplasty in general, but specifically demonstrate the advantages of 2-level arthroplasty over 2-level ACDF. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00389597 ( ).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Vertebral column, Degenerative disc disease, Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Discectomy, Cervical vertebrae, Food and Drug Administration, Intervertebral disc arthroplasty



Cervical myelopathy is the most common cause of acquired spinal cord compromise. The concept of degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM), defined as symptomatic myelopathy associated with degenerative arthropathic changes in the spine axis, is being introduced. Given its progressive nature, treatment options have to be chosen in a timely manner. Surgical options include anterior discectomy and fusion (ACDF), anterior corpectomy and fusion (ACCF), arthroplasty (in highly select cases), posterior laminectomy with/without fusion, and laminoplasty. Indications for each should be carefully considered in individual patients. Riluzole, a sodium-glutamate antagonist, is a promising option to optimize neurologic outcomes post-surgery and is being examined in the CSM-Protect Randomized Controlled Trial. Preoperative risk assessment is mandatory for prognostication. Sagittal alignment is known to play an important role to optimize surgical outcome. Guidelines for optimal management of DCM are in process. In principle, all but the mildest cases of DCM should be offered surgery for optimal outcome.

Concepts: Game theory, Hospital, Randomized controlled trial, Surgery, Vertebral column, Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Outcome, The Spine