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Eur Spine J. 2006 Feb;15(2):183-95. Epub 2005 Oct 28.

Charité total disc replacement--clinical and radiographical results after an average follow-up of 17 years.

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Center for Musculoskeletal Surgery, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Schumannstrasse 20/21, 10117 Berlin, Germany.


A retrospective clinical-radiological study to evaluate the long-term outcome after artificial disc replacement was performed. The objective is to investigate long-term results after implantation of a modular type artificial disc prosthesis in patients with degenerative disc disease (DDD). Total disc replacement (TDR) is a surgical procedure intended to save segmental spinal function, and thus replace spondylodesis. Short-term results are promising, whereas long-term results are scarce. The Charité TDR is the oldest existing implant, therefore, the longest possible follow-up is presented here. Seventy-one patients were treated with 84 Charité TDRs types I-III. Indication for TDR was moderate to severe DDD. Fifty-three patients (63 TDRs) were available for long-term follow-up of 17 years. Evaluation included Oswestry disability index, visual analog scale, overall outcome score, plain and extension/flexion radiographs. Implantation of Charité TDR resulted in a 60% rate of spontaneous ankylosis after 17 years. No significant difference between the three types of prostheses was found concerning clinical outcome. Reoperation was necessary in 11% of patients. Although no adjacent segment degeneration was observed in the functional implants (17%), these patients were significantly less satisfied than those with spontaneous ankylosis. TDR, nowadays, is an approved procedure. Proof that long-term results of TDR implantation in DDD are at least as good as fusion results is still missing.

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