During an artificial cervical disc procedure, the damaged disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc—a stainless-steel device with a ball-in-trough design crafted to allow for normal motion of the neck to continue. The artificial disc stays in place with bone screws. The hospital stay for this procedure is typically one to two days, and patients can begin rehabilitation and regular daily activities not long after surgery. In fact, according to one study, patients who received the Prestige ST artificial disc returned to work in 45 days—16 days earlier than patients who had spinal fusion.

According to Dr. Karahalios, the study’s results show that artificial cervical disc patients regain function faster, and have a higher rate of neurological success as measured by muscle tone, strength, sensation, as well as responsiveness of reflexes than those who undergo spinal fusion. Furthermore, at two-year follow-up the overall success rate for the artificial disc group was 79.3% compared to the fusion group at 67.8%. These reasons are compelling enough for potential candidates to consider the option of an artificial disc.

Study: Artificial Cervical Disc procedure vs. Arthrodesis (Fusion):

The Bryan data included 240 patients Bryan discs and 222 patients with an arthrodesis. The median returns to work (days) for the Bryan patients were 50 and for the controls it was 74. There was no statistical difference in the demographics or preoperative status between the treatment groups, however the difference in median return to work time was statistically significant.

The Prestige data consisted of 250 patients who received a Prestige disc and 260 individuals who were treated with an arthrodesis. There was no statistical difference in the demographics or preoperative status between treatment groups. Patients receiving the Prestige device had an overall median return to work of 46 days, which was significantly different than the median return to work time for patients receiving an arthrodesis, which was 63 days.

Patients treated with an artificial cervical disc return to work more rapidly than those treated with an arthrodesis and the difference between the two is statistically significant.