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Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Cervical Facet Degeneration After Total Disc Replacement: 280 Levels in 162 Patients: 5-Year Follow-up

Neurosurg Q 2011;21:17–21.

Much information and classifications of lumbar facet joint degeneration after lumbar total disc replacement are available, but nowadays in the cervical spine this concept is unstudied.

Analyzing our experience, we propose a computed tomography (CT) scan classification to evaluate degenerative facet joint disease after cervical arthroplasty. After 5-year follow-up for total disc replacement in a consecutive series of 162 patients (44.5±8.6-y-old) with a total of 280 Porous Coated Motion total cervical disc replacement from C3-4 to C7-T1, we analyzed the facet degeneration in 4 grades using CT scan, and compared with preoperative images. CT scans, x-rays, and clinical outcomes were collected preoperatively and postoperatively after 3 and 6 months, and annually after 12-month follow-up. The Neck Disability Index and Visual Analog Scale were used to assess pain and functional outcomes.

From all operated levels, we found 8.57% (24 levels) of degenerated facets. On the basis of the proposed classification, 50% (12 levels) of all degenerated levels had grade I, 37.5% (9 levels) with grade II, 8.3% (2 levels) with grade III, and 4.16% (1 level) had grade IV of facet degeneration. In patients with grades III and IV, it was possible to observe a worsening in Visual Analog Scale outcome assessment.

Facet joint degeneration is a possible consequence of cervical disc arthroplasty, despite its low rate occurrence. We did not find relationship between the early grades of CT observed facet degeneration and clinical results, but in grades III and IV there was correlation. A CT scan classification to evaluate cervical degenerative facet joint disease is essential to better understand and report this spinal phenomenon.

Category: Outcome, Spine, Surgical technique, Uncategorized

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