The future in the care of the cervical spine: interbody fusion and arthroplasty

Invited submission from the Joint Section Meeting on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, March 2004

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  • 1 Department of Neurological Surgery, Emory University; and Atlanta Brain and Spine Care, Atlanta, Georgia
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✓ In the past 50 years tremendous advances have been made in the treatment of cervical disc disease with cervical fusion. Fusion rates have surpassed 95% after application of anterior cervical implants. Adjacent-segment degeneration, however, has plagued the long-term clinical success of cervical fusion.

Cervical arthroplasty has been introduced to maintain cervical motion and potentially avoid or minimize adjacent-segment degeneration. If cervical arthroplasty is successful, the long-term results of surgery for cervical disc disease may improve; however, there are associated drawbacks that must be overcome. Implant wear, fatigue, and failure have been reported in cases of large-joint arthroplasty, and research is underway to limit these problems in cervical arthroplasty.

In this article the authors trace the evolution of cervical fusion and the new technique of cervical arthroplasty. The nomenclature of cervical arthroplasty will also be introduced.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Regis Haid, M.D., Atlanta Brain and Spine Care, Atlanta, Georgia 30308.
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