This article will review a recent study published in Spinal News International by Dr. Gornet and colleagues that specifically took a look at five–year data on cervical two level cases comparing disc replacements to the gold standard anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. A disc replacement is a device that is used to replicate the natural function of an intervertebral disc, meaning that it maintains motion. A fusion procedure can be explained simply by removing the disc and making two bones become one, hence fusion. The fusion procedure has been used for decades and considered the gold standard for treatment of cervical radiculopathy (spinal nerve root compression) and cervical myelopathy (spinal cord compression).
The patients who were selected for the study had a two level procedure performed between C3-C7. The patients were followed all the way out to 5 years. Certain data points and measurements were collected to determine success such as Neck Disability Index. So who performed better, the fusion or the disc replacement?
Two level disc replacement performed better at every time interval including the five–year mark. Thus making the two–level disc replacement SUPERIOR to the two level cervical fusion all the way up to five years when comparing outcomes. This has been reported as Level 1 clinical evidence in support of cervical disc arthroplasty as a motion-sparring alternative to fusion.
It should be noted that when considering surgery it’s very important to have proper patient selection for each recommended surgery. Not every patient is a good candidate for disc replacement but choosing the right patient for the right surgery leads to better outcomes. At Prairie Spine & Pain Institute we thrive to provide our patients with the best treatment that is currently available to treat spine conditions. In fact, since this article is about two level disc replacements, Prairie Spine and Dr. Kube specifically, was the first surgeon to perform a two level disc replacement in the state of Illinois. If you have neck or back pain, come see us at Prairie Spine & Pain Institute.
About The Author: Derek N. Morrow, PA-C is a physician assistant with Prairie Spine and Pain Institute. Derek works in the clinic setting as a health care provider seeing patients. He is also utilized in the operating room as a first assist in surgery. In the clinic setting, his key function is to diagnose new patients and conduct their initial treatment. He works directly with patients to establish customized treatment programs and to monitor their progress. He also conducts history and physical evaluations for many patients. He performs many office procedures including trigger point injections, large joint injections, and bursa injections, all with the help of ultrasound guidance. He is radiologically trained, and uses his knowledge of X-ray, Ultrasound, MRI, CT, and EMG-Nerve Conduction Studies to establish a diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment. Derek is surgically trained and plays a vital role in the procedures we perform at Prairie Spine and Pain Institute.