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Domagoj Coric, Richard D. Guyer, Pierce D. Nunley, David Musante, Cameron Carmody, Charles Gordon, Carl Lauryssen, Margaret O. Boltes and Donna D. Ohnmeiss

OBJECTIVE

Seven cervical total disc replacement (TDR) devices have received FDA approval since 2006. These devices represent a heterogeneous assortment of implants made from various biomaterials with different biomechanical properties. The majority of these devices are composed of metallic endplates with a polymer core. In this prospective, randomized multicenter study, the authors evaluate the safety and efficacy of a metal-on-metal (MoM) TDR (Kineflex|C) versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in the treatment of single-level spondylosis with radiculopathy through a long-term (5-year) follow-up.

METHODS

An FDA-regulated investigational device exemption (IDE) pivotal trial was conducted at 21 centers across the United States. Standard validated outcome measures including the Neck Disability Index (NDI) and visual analog scale (VAS) for assessing pain were used. Patients were randomized to undergo TDR using the Kineflex|C cervical artificial disc or anterior cervical fusion using structural allograft and an anterior plate. Patients were evaluated preoperatively and at 6 weeks and 3, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months after surgery. Serum ion analysis was performed on a subset of patients randomized to receive the MoM TDR.

RESULTS

A total of 269 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to undergo either TDR (136 patients) or ACDF (133 patients). There were no significant differences between the TDR and ACDF groups in terms of operative time, blood loss, or length of hospital stay. In both groups, the mean NDI scores improved significantly by 6 weeks after surgery and remained significantly improved throughout the 60-month follow-up (both p < 0.01). Similarly, VAS pain scores improved significantly by 6 weeks and remained significantly improved through the 60-month follow-up (both p < 0.01). There were no significant changes in outcomes between the 24- and 60-month follow-ups in either group. Range of motion in the TDR group decreased at 3 months but was significantly greater than the preoperative mean value at the 12- and 24-month follow-ups and remained significantly improved through the 60-month period. There were no significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of reoperation/revision surgery or device-/surgery-related adverse events. The serum ion analysis revealed cobalt and chromium levels significantly lower than the levels that merit monitoring.

CONCLUSIONS

Cervical TDR with an MoM device is safe and efficacious at the 5-year follow-up. These results from a prospective randomized study support that Kineflex|C TDR as a viable alternative to ACDF in appropriately selected patients with cervical radiculopathy.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00374413 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Domagoj Coric, Pierce D. Nunley, Richard D. Guyer, David Musante, Cameron N. Carmody, Charles R. Gordon, Carl Lauryssen, Donna D. Ohnmeiss and Margaret O. Boltes

Object

Cervical total disc replacement (CTDR) represents a relatively novel procedure intended to address some of the shortcomings associated with anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) by preserving motion at the treated level. This prospective, randomized, multicenter study evaluates the safety and efficacy of a new metal-on-metal CTDR implant (Kineflex|C) by comparing it with ACDF in the treatment of single-level spondylosis with radiculopathy.

Methods

The study was a prospective, randomized US FDA Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) pivotal trial conducted at 21 centers across the US. The primary clinical outcome measures included the Neck Disability Index (NDI), visual analog scale (VAS) scores, and a composite measure of clinical success. Patients were randomized to CTDR using the Kineflex|C (SpinalMotion, Inc.) cervical artificial disc or ACDF using structural allograft and an anterior plate.

Results

A total of 269 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to either CTDR (136 patients) or to ACDF (133 patients). There were no significant differences between the CTDR and ACDF groups when comparing operative time, blood loss, length of hospital stay, or the reoperation rate at the index level. The overall success rate was significantly greater in the CTDR group (85%) compared with the ACDF group (71%) (p = 0.05). In both groups, the mean NDI scores improved significantly by 6 weeks after surgery and remained significantly improved throughout the 24-month follow-up (p < 0.0001). Similarly, the VAS pain scores improved significantly by 6 weeks and remained significantly improved through the 24-month follow-up (p < 0.0001). The range of motion (ROM) in the CTDR group decreased at 3 months but was significantly greater than the preoperative mean at 12- and 24-month follow-up. The ROM in the ACDF group was significantly reduced by 3 months and remained so throughout the follow-up. Adjacent-level degeneration was also evaluated in both groups from preoperatively to 2-year follow-up and was classified as none, mild, moderate, or severe. Preoperatively, there were no significant differences between groups when evaluating the different levels of adjacent-level degeneration. At the 2-year follow-up, there were significantly more patients in the ACDF group with severe adjacent-level radiographic changes (p < 0.0001). However, there were no significant differences between groups in adjacent-level reoperation rate (7.6% for the Kineflex|C group and 6.1% for the ACDF group).

Conclusions

Cervical total disc replacement allows for neural decompression and clinical results comparable to ACDF. Kineflex|C was associated with a significantly greater overall success rate than fusion while maintaining motion at the index level. Furthermore, there were significantly fewer Kineflex|C patients showing severe adjacent-level radiographic changes at the 2-year follow-up. These results from a prospective, randomized study support that Kineflex|C CTDR is a viable alternative to ACDF in select patients with cervical radiculopathy.