Cervical disc replacements plateaued


The volume of cervical disc replacements grew steadily for nearly a decade, but have leveled off in the last few years, according to a study published in the journal Spine.

Study authors examined data for cervical disc replacement and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion entered into the PearlDiver M151Ortho data set. There were 19,301 single-level disc replacements and 181,476 ACDFs performed over the study period, 2010 to 2021.

Researchers found:

1. Disc replacement use relative to ACDF jumped from 4% in 2010 to 14.15% in 2018. By 2021, the proportional utilization was just slightly increased to 14.47%.

2. Younger patients and patients with commercial insurance were more likely to undergo disc replacement than spinal fusion.

3. Patients in the Midwest, Northeast and Western regions of the country were more likely to undergo disc replacement than spinal fusion.

4. Orthopedic spine surgeons were more likely to perform disc replacements than neurological surgeons.

5. The five-year survival rate for disc replacements and spinal fusion were the same. The authors said reasons for the plateau in disc replacement are "unclear."

In 2023, there have been multiple insurers updating policies to cover disc replacements, which could lead to additional patient volume in the future.

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