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Spine J. 2004 Nov-Dec;4(6 Suppl):190S-194S.

Adjacent segment degeneration and adjacent segment disease: the consequences of spinal fusion?

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University and The Rothman Institute, 925 Chestnut Street, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Given the number of spinal fusions performed annually, concerns have mounted over the potential for adjacent segment degeneration (radiographic changes of degeneration at levels adjacent to a spinal fusion) and adjacent segment disease (development of new symptoms correlating with adjacent segment degeneration). This article reviews documented evidence on adjacent segment degeneration and disease as it relates to cervical and lumbar arthrodesis. There appears to be an incidence of adjacent segment degeneration and disease after arthrodesis that may be related to natural degeneration or the adjacent fusion. It remains to be seen whether restoration of motion with disc arthroplasty will alter the rate of adjacent segment degeneration or disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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