The use of cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) in spinal practice is controversial. This may be explained by the lack of studies with a large sample size and long-term outcomes. With this survey the authors aimed to evaluate the opinions of spine surgeons on the use of CDA in the current treatment of cervical disc herniation (CDH).
A web-based survey was sent to all members of AOSpine International by email using SurveyMonkey on July 18, 2016. A single reminder was sent on August 18, 2016. Questions included geographic location; specialty; associated practice model; number of discectomies performed annually; the use of CDA, anterior cervical discectomy (ACD), and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); and the expectations for clinical outcomes of these procedures.
A total of 383 questionnaires were analyzed. Almost all practitioners (97.9%) were male, with a mean of 15.0 ± 9.7 years of clinical experience. The majority of responders were orthopedic surgeons (54.6%). 84.3% performed ACDF as the standard technique for CDH. 47.8% of the surgeons occasionally used CDA, whereas 7.3% used CDA as standard approach for CDH. The most common arthroplasty device used was the ProDisc-C. Low evidence for benefits and higher costs were the most important reasons for not offering CDA. The risk of adjacent-level disease was considered smaller for CDA as compared with ACDF. However, ACDF was expected to have the highest effectiveness on arm pain (87.5%), followed by CDA (77.9%), while ACD had the least (12.6%).
In this survey, CDA was not considered to be the routine procedure to treat CDH. Reported benefits included the reduced risk of adjacent-level disease and preservation of motion of the neck. Lack of enough evidence on its effectiveness as well as higher costs were considered to be disadvantages of CDA. More research should be conducted on the implementation impact of CDA and the cost-effectiveness from society's perspective.