Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

For back, neck pain, artificial disc replacement has cost, outcome advantages over fusion surgery

23.03.2011
Hospital costs for artificial disc replacement were 49 percent lower and patients were four times less likely to need additional surgery, 2 studies find

When physical therapy and drugs fail to relieve back or neck pain, patients often turn to spinal fusion surgery as a last resort, but two new studies show that in certain situations, especially when several discs are involved, artificial disc replacement may give better long-term results at lower cost.

Hospital costs for artificial disc replacement were 49 percent lower, and four years out from surgery, artificial disc patients were four times less likely to need additional surgery than those who had fusion operations, according to two recently published studies.

"Back pain is the fifth leading cause of hospital admission and the third most common reason for surgery," said orthopaedic surgeon Rick B. Delamarter, M.D., co-director of the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center. "Estimates vary and are probably understated, but health care expenditures for back pain top $91 billion a year, not including indirect and societal costs such as time lost from work and worker's compensation.It is crucial that we develop surgical procedures that are cost effective without sacrificing high-quality results."

Delamarter is a lead author of the two studies, which were published recently in the SAS Journal of the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery and the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.

Both studies compared disc replacement surgery with the more common fusion operation to treat degenerative disc disease – deterioration caused by aging and wear and tear. One study looked at 209 patients with damaged neck discs who received either minimally invasive disc replacement or the more complex spinal fusion surgery. These patients were followed at regular intervals for four years. A separate group of 136 who received an artificial disc two years after the first group also were part of the study. All patients were assessed on their satisfaction with the results of the procedure. The other study focused on 53 patients suffering from three-level, lower back disc disease and looked at cost comparisons for length of hospital stay, resources used and other factors.

Discs act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) of the spine. When healthy, the discs have enough "give" to allow the back to be flexible but are firm enough to provide stability. With age or injury, they lose their pliability and density. Nerves may become pinched between the bones, causing pain not just in the spine but in other parts of the body.

Fusion surgery seeks to relieve symptoms of the degenerative disease by removing the damaged disc and replacing it with bone. Studies show this procedure often can be effective but there can be drawbacks: in some cases, fused spinal sections can lose flexibility, impeding normal movement and stressing adjacent discs, often leading later to more fusion surgery. Artificial disc replacement, which has been performed in the United States since 2000, tends to cause less tissue injury than fusion surgery, and the discs are designed to maintain natural spine movement and reduce need for follow-up surgery.

In their study of patients suffering neck (cervical) disc disease, Delamarter and his colleagues found both disc replacement and fusion surgery acceptable options providing good long-term outcomes. But four years out from surgery, fusion patients were four times more likely to need more surgery. Half of these secondary operations were needed to treat new disc problems occurring adjacent to fused sections.

Patients in the study had imaging scans to measure before-and-after flexibility and range of motion; were evaluated for physical and neurological improvement; and completed self-assessment questionnaires on neck disability, neck and arm pain intensity. Improvements were seen in all categories, regardless of the surgical procedure, but results tended to be at least slightly better in patients with disc replacements.

An important area, according to Delamarter, was patient satisfaction with the procedure. Four years after surgery, nearly 88 percent of disc replacement patients reported that they were very to completely satisfied, compared with 76 percent of fusion patients. When asked if they would undergo the same surgery again, 89 percent of disc replacement patients and 81 percent of fusion patients said yes.

"While the results of this 13-center study are preliminary, it appears that artificial disc replacement surgery compares favorably as an effective procedure, is preferred by patients and slows the rate of adjacent-level disease," Delamarter said.

Spinal fusion has been recognized as one of the more expensive surgical procedures. The second study looked at costs and is believed to be the first to compare those of three-level disc replacement with three-level fusion. It evaluated itemized billing records of 53 patients undergoing surgery for three consecutive discs of the low back (lumbar spine) at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., where Delamarter practiced before joining Cedars-Sinai.

Total hospital costs for patients undergoing disc replacement surgery averaged 49 percent lower than those for fusion patients

The number of fusions for low back pain is rising rapidly, but Delamarter urges hospitals, insurers and surgeons to consider alternatives, including total disc replacement.

"After safety and effectiveness of a procedure have been documented, cost is an important consideration," he said. "Artificial disc replacement technology appears to offer a promising, cost-saving alternative to fusion, especially for patients with disease at three levels."

Citation: SAS Journal, December 2010 "Results at 24 months from the prospective, randomized, multi-center Investigational Device Exemption trial of ProDisc-C versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with 4-year follow-up and continued access patients," and "Cost comparison of patients with 3-level artificial total lumbar disc replacements versus 360-degree fusion at 3 contiguous lumbar vertebral levels: an analysis of compassionate use at 1 site of the US investigational device exemption clinical trial."

The artificial discs implanted in these studies – the ProDisc-C and ProDisc-L – were manufactured by Synthes USA Products. Delamarter and his colleagues have evaluated outcomes and written about the devices since the FDA approved them for research and limited use in the United States. Delamarter is a consultant for Synthes and receives royalties on the ProDisc devices. However, he does not receive royalties on devices used for his patients or any other patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Simi Singer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cshs.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

nachricht NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology
07.12.2016 | Nanyang Technological University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>