Adjacent segment degeneration and adjacent segment disease: the consequences of spinal fusion?

Spine J. 2004 Nov-Dec;4(6 Suppl):190S-194S. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2004.07.007.


Given the number of spinal fusions performed annually, concerns have mounted over the potential for adjacent segment degeneration (radiographic changes of degeneration at levels adjacent to a spinal fusion) and adjacent segment disease (development of new symptoms correlating with adjacent segment degeneration). This article reviews documented evidence on adjacent segment degeneration and disease as it relates to cervical and lumbar arthrodesis. There appears to be an incidence of adjacent segment degeneration and disease after arthrodesis that may be related to natural degeneration or the adjacent fusion. It remains to be seen whether restoration of motion with disc arthroplasty will alter the rate of adjacent segment degeneration or disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / physiopathology
  • Intervertebral Disc / surgery*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology*
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery
  • Spinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Spinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery
  • Spinal Fusion / adverse effects*