7 Reasons to Consider a Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement Over a Spine Fusion

February 25, 2022

BY Nima Salari, M.D. FAAOS

Dr. Salari is a Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Orthopedic Spine Surgeon with specialized training in the operative and non-operative treatment of pathologic conditions affecting the spine. He specializes in ultra-minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery and cervical artificial disc replacement.

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Living with neck pain is never easy. Neck pain can severely impact our daily work and activities. Neck pain is the fourth leading cause of disability, with about 30 percent of people experiencing neck pain yearly. When conservative treatment fails to provide relief, there is good evidence that cervical neck surgery effectively relieves neck pain.

Cervical spine surgery in the neck usually involves two types of surgery – cervical spine fusion (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion) or cervical artificial disc replacement. A spinal fusion has been the gold standard for neck pain caused by radiculopathy (pain that travels into the arms and hand) and myelopathy (spinal cord compression). However, in recent years, spine surgery utilizing an artificial disc replacement has shown superior long-term results and better patient satisfaction.

Here are seven reasons to consider a cervical artificial disc replacement surgery over a spine fusion in the neck:

1. Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery (ADR) Patients Return to Work Sooner

A recent clinical study comparing ADR to spine fusion surgery found that ADR patients return to work 20.9 days sooner than spine fusion patients. Patients most likely returned to work sooner because they did not have to wait for a bone fusion to occur like spine fusion patients do.

Also, the ADR surgery restores and preserves motion in the neck, unlike a spine fusion that stiffens the neck.


Learn more about ADR

2. Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement Has Superior Results to Cervical Spine Fusion Surgery

Patients who received a two-level cervical artificial disc had a clinically superior success rate of 60.8% versus 34.6% patients who underwent a cervical spine fusion or anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

3. Preserves Natural Range of Motion in the Neck

Unlike spine fusion surgery which decreases the range of motion by fusing two vertebrae, an artificial disc replacement is a motion-preserving surgery.

In a recent clinical study seven years after the surgery, artificial disc patients showed better scores than cervical spine fusion patients in the Neck Disability Index.

Patients with ADR surgery do not have to wear a cervical collar or bracing after surgery, thus promoting a faster recovery.


ADR surgery restores and preserves motion in the neck

4. Artificial Disc Replacement Patients Have Less Repeat Surgery

According to a recent study, patients who undergo artificial disc replacement surgery have a reduced risk of additional spine surgery in the future. Because the artificial disc replacement device preserves motion in the neck, it puts less stress on the vertebrae located above and below the surgical level of the device. The device can reduce the risk of further spinal degenerative disc disease in the future.

5. There are Multiple Artificial Disc Devices on the Market to Choose From

Artificial disc replacement devices have been developed and studied over the past 30 years as an alternative to cervical spine fusion surgery. There are seven cervical artificial disc devices approved for use in patients in the United States.

  • Bryan Cervical Disc

  • M6-C*

  • Mobi-C*

  • Prodisc-C*

  • Secure-C

  • Simply Disc

  • PCM Cervical Disc System

*Most commonly used

6. Can be Revised to a Cervical Spine Fusion (CSF) if Needed

Suppose an artificial disc device (ADD) fails or further spine degeneration develops at the same level. In that case, the device can be removed, replaced or a cervical spine fusion surgery can be performed to relieve symptoms. However, it cannot be reversed if the patient chooses cervical spine fusion first instead of ADD surgery.

As previously stated above in clinical results, patients undergoing CSF have a significant likelihood of additional surgery needed (in the future) at the adjacent level above or below the first surgical level.

7. Patients are More Satisfied with Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

Patients who had an artificial disc replacement surgery (ADR) reported overall satisfaction rates significantly higher than those who had anterior cervical discectomy and fusion spine surgery (ACDF).

At 12 months

  • 88.2% of ADR patients were satisfied versus 75.8% or ACDF patients

At 48 months

  • 84.6% vs 72.6%

At 60 months

  • 85.7% vs 75%

At 84 months

  • Patient satisfaction scores for patients were clinically significant – ADR 86% vs. 73.9% ACDF.
Prodisc C

Choose The Right Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement Surgeon in Phoenix, AZ

Selecting the right experienced surgeon is essential to getting the results you desire. At DISC, our expert spine surgeons have been involved with artificial disc replacement or total disc arthroplasty research and clinical studies for over ten years. Our world-renowned orthopedic spine specialists in Phoenix, AZ, work with patients to treat complex spine conditions, including those who have failed previous surgical treatment.

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Get a second opinion if your pain is chronic, affecting your quality of life, and you were told you need a spine fusion. Our surgeons routinely offer patients a second opinion to evaluate and provide the least invasive yet most effective treatment options.

DISC offers a complete range of nonsurgical, ultra-minimally invasive, motion-preserving, and minimally invasive solutions for patients suffering from painful neck and back conditions.

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