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UCSF analysis shows newer surgery for neck pain may be better
Date:4/11/2011

um. The idea is that the artificial disc will provide more spine mobility after surgery and less stress on adjacent discs.

While arthroplasty has become more widely used in the United States since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved several models of artificial discs in the last few years, it is still performed less often than in Europe, where the procedure has been available for more than a decade.

Here in the United States, the older, surgical fusion technique remains more common in part because not all insurance companies pay for the newer procedure, as is the case in California.

Both techniques have occasional failures. In the fusion surgery, the bone may not heal, requiring further fusion surgery months or years later. In the arthroplasty surgery, the artificial disk may loosen or not fit well and may need to be replaced.

"Surprising" Results

The new analysis looked at three randomized clinical trials that enrolled 1,213 patients with cervical disc disease at medical centers across the United States including UCSF.

In the trials, 621 patients received an artificial cervical disc and 592 patients were treated with spinal fusion. The analysis looked at outcomes two years after surgery.

The results were surprising, Mummaneni said: "While the two-year surgical results for both techniques were excellent, the rate of repeat surgery is lower for arthroplasty than for fusion at the two-year timepoint."


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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jason.bardi@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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