Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Differences in the Utilization of Cervical Disk Replacement for Cervical Radiculopathy

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2022 Jul 15;30(14):e989-e997. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-21-01017. Epub 2022 Mar 15.


Introduction: Cervical radiculopathy (CR) is commonly treated by spine surgeons, with surgical options including anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disk replacement (CDR). CDR is a motion-sparing alternative to ACDF and was approved by the US FDA in 2007. CDR utilization has increased because evidence has emerged demonstrating its long-term efficacy. Despite CDR's efficacy, studies have suggested that socioeconomic factors may influence which patients undergo CDR versus ACDF. Our objective was to determine whether gender, racial, and ethnic disparities exist in the utilization of CDR versus ACDF for CR.

Methods: Patients age ≥18 years undergoing elective CDR or ACDF for CR between 2017 and 2020 were identified in the Vizient Clinical Database. Proportions of patients undergoing CDR and ACDF, as well as their comorbidities, complications, and outcomes, were compared by sex, race, and ethnicity. Bonferroni correction was done for multiple comparisons.

Results: A total of 7,384 patients, including 1,427 undergoing CDR and 5,957 undergoing ACDF, were reviewed. Black patients undergoing surgical treatment of CR were less likely to undergo CDR than ACDF, had a longer length of stay, and had higher readmission rates, while Hispanic patients had higher complication rates than non-Hispanic patients.

Discussion: Important racial and ethnic disparities exist in CR treatment. Interventions are necessary to ensure equal access to spine care by reducing barriers, such as underinsurance and implicit bias.

Level of evidence: IV (Case Series).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery
  • Diskectomy / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Neck / surgery
  • Radiculopathy* / etiology
  • Radiculopathy* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome