Five-year results of the prospective, randomized, multicenter, Food and Drug Administration investigational device exemption study of the ProDisc-L total disc replacement versus circumferential arthrodesis for the treatment of single-level degenerative disc disease

J Neurosurg Spine. 2012 Dec;17(6):493-501. doi: 10.3171/2012.9.SPINE11498. Epub 2012 Oct 19.


Object: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of the ProDisc-L total disc replacement (TDR) as part of an FDA-mandated postmarket approval study. This report summarizes the clinical findings after 5 years of follow-up.

Methods: Two hundred thirty-six patients were treated and followed up for 5 years; 161 TDRs and 75 fusions had been performed in these patients. The primary outcome was a 10-component success end point. Secondary outcome measures included neurological status, secondary surgery, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), visual analog scale (VAS) assessing pain and satisfaction, radiographic data, narcotic use, activity, and recreation status. Patients were monitored through their 5-year postoperative visits under the FDA postmarket surveillance provisions in the original investigational device exemption approval.

Results: The overall follow-up rate at 5 years was 81.8%. Study success demonstrated that TDR was noninferior to fusion with a 12.5% margin (p = 0.0099). Both TDR and fusion treatment groups maintained significant improvement on the ODI at 5 years compared with baseline (p < 0.0001). Secondary surgeries at the index level were performed in 12% of fusion patients and 8% of TDR patients. Radiographically, none of the TDRs developed spontaneous fusion. The segmental range of motion following TDR remained within normal range, although it decreased by approximately 0.5° in years 3 to 5. The VAS pain scores decreased from preoperative values by 48% in both treatment groups at 5 years. Patient satisfaction remained high in both groups (77%), while the percentage of patients indicating that they would have the surgery again was higher in TDR patients (82.5%) than in fusion patients (68.0%).

Conclusions: Patients in both groups maintained significant improvement during the 5-year follow-up. The TDR group had significantly better improvement on some scales. Although TDR patients avoid the stiffness of fusion and are more satisfied than fusion patients, both fusion and TDR are reasonable surgical options in this specific patient population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / surgery*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Sacrum / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*
  • Total Disc Replacement / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome