Cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) has been increasingly used for the treatment of cervical disc herniations. However, the impact of CDA on adjacent-segment degeneration and the degree of heterotopic ossification (HO) of the treated segment remain a subject of controversy. Due to a product failure of the Galileo-type disc prosthesis, 22 of these devices were explanted. The radiological and clinical course in each case was investigated in detail with an emphasis on the incidence of HO and facet joint degeneration 18 months following the operation. Intraoperative findings regarding ossification and implant fixation were documented. Thus, the authors were able to describe the true rate of adjacent-segment degeneration and HO following CDA and the clinical relevance thereof.
In all 22 patients, functional radiographic imaging was performed prior to surgery, 3 and 12 months after surgery, and prior to disc prosthesis explantation. At all time points, the range of motion (ROM) in the operated and adjacent segments was determined. A motion index was calculated using the preoperative and all postoperative ROMs (preoperative ROM/postoperative ROM). Computed tomography was used preoperatively to measure the height of the index segment, extent of HO, and the degree of the progression of facet arthrosis, and was used postoperatively prior to prosthesis explantation. Patients completed clinical questionnaires that included a visual analog scale and the Neck Disability Index.
The motion index of the index segment declined gradually from 1.4 at 3 months postoperative to 1.2 prior to explantation, while the motion index of the adjacent upper segment increased from 0.9 to 1.3. The mean ROM of the index segment was 10.4° ± 6.7°, and fusion was observed in 2 (9%) of the 22 patients. Prosthesis migration was present in 3 patients (13.6%). Severe HO (Grades 3 and 4) was present in 17.4%. Computed tomography showed a significant increase of segmental height of the index segment (1.6 ± 1.1 mm, p = 0.035), and a significant increase of left-sided lateral osteophytes (1.7 ± 2.1 mm, p = 0.009). The incidence of severe osteophyte formation (> 2 mm) occurred in 40%. Intraoperative findings reflected the results from CT, with primary lateral proliferation of osteophytes found in approximately 25% of patients. The mean visual analog scale scores were 3.8 ± 2.7 (neck) and 2.4 ± 2.5 (arms), and the mean Neck Disability Index score was 30 ± 22. No correlation was found between radiological and clinical parameters.
In this study, a higher incidence of HO after CDA could be demonstrated using CT, compared with studies using fluoroscopy only. However, patient selection and/or the operative technique might have contributed to the high prevalence of osteophyte formation. Thus, the exact indication for CDA has to be reconsidered. Because implant migration was detected, using fixation in the present CDA model appears suboptimal.