Changes in adjacent-level disc pressure and facet joint force after cervical arthroplasty compared with cervical discectomy and fusion

J Neurosurg Spine. 2007 Jul;7(1):33-9. doi: 10.3171/SPI-07/07/033.


Object: The authors of previous in vitro investigations have reported an increase in adjacent-level intradiscal pressures (IDPs) and facet joint stresses following cervical spine fusion. This study was performed to compare adjacent-level IDPs and facet force following arthroplasty with the fusion model.

Methods: Eighteen human cadaveric cervical spines were tested in the intact state for different modes of motion (extension, flexion, bending, and rotation) up to 2 Nm. The specimens were then divided into three groups: those involving the ProDisc-C cervical artificial disc, Prestige cervical artificial disc, and cervical fusion. They were load tested after application of instrumentation or surgery at the C6-7 level. During the test, IDPs and facet forces were measured at adjacent levels.

Results: In arthroplasty-treated specimens, the IDP showed little difference from that of the intact spine at both proximal and distal levels. In fusion-treated specimens, the IDP increased at the posterior anulus fibrosus on extension and at the anterior anulus fibrosus on flexion at the proximal level. At the distal level, the IDP change was not significant. The facet force changes were minimal in flexion, bending, and rotation modes in both arthroplasty- and fusion-treated spines. Significant changes were noted in the extension mode only. In extension, arthroplasty models exhibited significant increases of facet force at the treated level. In the fusion model the facet forces decreased at the treated segment and increased at the adjacent segment.

Conclusions: The two artificial discs of the semiconstrained systems maintain adjacent-level IDPs near the preoperative values in all modes of motion, but with respect to facet force pressure tended to increase after arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Diskectomy*
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / physiopathology*
  • Intervertebral Disc / surgery*
  • Motion
  • Postoperative Period
  • Pressure
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Rotation
  • Spinal Fusion*