Cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) has received widespread attention as an alternative to anterior fusion due to its similar neurological and functional improvement, with the advantage of preservation of segmental motion. As CDA becomes more widely implemented, the potential for unexpected device-related adverse events may be identified.
The authors report on a 48-year-old man who presented with progressive neurological deficits 3 years after 2-level CDA was performed. Imaging demonstrated periprosthetic osteolysis of the vertebral endplates at the CDA levels, with a heterogeneously enhancing ventral epidural mass compressing the spinal cord. Diagnostic workup for infectious and neoplastic processes was negative. The presumptive diagnosis was an inflammatory pannus formation secondary to abnormal motion at the CDA levels. Posterior cervical decompression and instrumented fusion was performed without removal of the arthroplasty devices or the ventral epidural mass. Postoperative imaging at 2 months demonstrated complete resolution of the compressive pannus, with associated improvement in clinical symptoms. Follow-up MRI at > 6 months showed no recurrence of the pannus. At 1 year postoperatively, CT scanning revealed improvement in periprosthetic osteolysis.
Inflammatory pannus formation may be an unexpected complication of abnormal segmental motion after CDA. This rare etiology of an epidural mass associated with an arthroplasty device should be considered, in addition to workup for other potential infectious or neoplastic mass lesions. In symptomatic individuals, compressive pannus lesions can be effectively treated with fusion across the involved segment without removal of the device.