The objective of this study was to identify the risk factors of anterior bone loss (ABL) in cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) and the subsequent effect of this phenomenon.
The authors performed a retrospective radiological review of 185 patients with a minimum 5-year follow-up after CDA (using Bryan, Discocerv, Mobi-C, or Baguera C). Postoperative radiographs were examined and compared to the initial postoperative films to determine the percentage of ABL. The relationship of ABL to potential risk factors was analyzed.
Complete radiological assessment was available in 145 patients with 193 CDRs and 383 endplates (average age 45 years, range 25–65 years, 54% women). ABL was identified in 63.7% of CDRs (48.7% mild, 11.9% moderate, 3.1% severe). Age (p = 0.770), sex (p = 0.200), postoperative alignment (p = 0.330), midflexion point (p = 0.509), maximal flexion (p = 0.080), and extension (p = 0.717) did not relate to ABL. There was no significant difference in the rate of severe ABL between implants. Multilevel surgery conferred an increased risk of any and severe ABL (p = 0.013 for both). The upper endplate, defined as superior to the CDA, was more commonly involved (p = 0.008), but there was no significant difference whether the endplate was between or not between implants (p = 0.226). The development of ABL did not affect the long-term range of movement (ROM) of the CDA, but did increase the overall risk of autofusion. ABL was not associated with pain or functional deficits. No patients required a reoperation or revision of their implant during the course of this study, and there were no cases of progressive ABL beyond the first year.
ABL is common in all implant types assessed, although most is mild. Age, sex, postoperative alignment, ROM, and midflexion point do not relate to this phenomenon. However, the greater the number of levels operated, the higher the risk of developing ABL. The development of ABL has no long-term effect on the mechanical functioning of the disc or necessity for revision surgery, although it may increase the rate of autofusion.