Cervical Fusion vs Disc Replacement

COMPARE THE TWO TECHNIQUES

Surgeons use two techniques to relieve symptoms of degenerative cervical disc — cervical fusion surgery (also known as anterior cervical disc fusion or ACDF) and cervical disc replacement surgery. Both can relieve pain, weakness, and numbness. The difference lies in the lasting effect on your range of motion.

CERVICAL FUSION VS. CERVICAL DISC REPLACEMENT

With both techniques, the doctor will access the cervical spine through the front of the neck and remove the deteriorated disc. The next step depends on the technique:

  • Cervical fusion surgery. The doctor fills the empty disc space and braces the vertebrae with a device made of bone or a medical grade plastic. One such device is the Zevo™ anterior cervical plate made by Medtronic. The device serves as an “internal cast.” Over time, the area fuses together. The fusion often alleviates symptoms but also restricts motion and flexibility.
  • Cervical disc replacement. The doctor inserts an artificial cervical disc in the empty disc space. The Prestige LP™ cervical disc is an artificial disc made by Medtronic.

The artificial cervical disc mimics the motion of a healthy disc.

See the charts below to compare the results of cervical fusion and cervical disc replacement, using Prestige LP, two years after the surgery.

The first chart shows results using Prestige LP at two adjacent levels. The trial was prospective (looking forward in time) and involved 397 patients (209 patients who received the Prestige LP cervical disc at two adjacent levels and 188 patients who underwent a fusion procedure, ACDF, at two adjacent levels).

The second chart shows results using Prestige LP at a single level. This prospective (looking forward in time), non-randomized study was conducted in the United States and involved 545 patients with 280 investigational patients receiving the Prestige LP cervical disc and 265 control patients who had received anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in a study that had been done earlier.

RESULTS AT 2 YEARS PRESTIGE LP 2-Level ACDF
Overall Success
81.4% or 162/199
69.4% or 111/160
Average Degree of Motion
51% had more than 4 degrees of motion at both treated levels*
Overall Success
81.4% or 162/199
69.4% or 111/160
Severe Complications
1.9% or 4/209
5.9% or 11/185
Rate of additional surgery at treated level
2.4% or 5/209
8% or 15/188
Post-op neurological exam = the same or improved
91.5% or 192/199
86.2% or 137/159
Median Return to Work
6 days sooner
RESULTS AT 2 YEARS PRESTIGE LP 1-Level ACDF
Overall Success
70.4 % or 159/224
63.2% or 108/171
Average Degree of Motion
7.51 degrees of motion (range was 0 to 26 degrees) compared to 5.67 degrees prior to surgery
Severe Complications
1.9% or 4/209
5.9% or 11/185
Rate of additional surgery at treated level
5%
8%
Median Return to Work
20 days sooner

CHOOSING CERVICAL FUSION OR DISC REPLACEMENT

Decide the best surgical option for you by:

  • Understanding the similarities and differences in the two techniques
  • Learning the benefits and risk of each technique
  • Checking on your insurance coverage for both
  • Considering your lifestyle and treatment goals
  • Discussing both techniques with your doctor

Once you have gathered information and discussed the options with your doctor, you will maximize your chances for a positive outcome and return to feeling better.

 
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.