Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet. 2007 Mar 24;369(9566):993-9.

Intervertebral disc transplantation in the treatment of degenerative spine disease: a preliminary study.

Author information

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, The Navy General Hospital, Beijing, China.



Spinal fusion can be complicated by accelerated degeneration of the adjacent segments. Artificial disc replacements have been developed, but results are variable. Successful transplantations of intervertebral disc autografts, fresh allografts, and fresh-frozen allografts-ie, a non-fusion strategy-in which the mobility and stability of the spinal segment were preserved have been done in a primate model. Our aim was to determine the feasibility, safety, and long-term clinical results of disc transplantation in human beings.


Five patients, average age 47 years, with cervical disc herniation underwent transplantation of fresh-frozen composite disc allografts after disc excision. Serial MRI and static and dynamic radiographs were used to monitor the status of the grafts and the sagittal stability and mobility of the segment.


Good union of the graft endplates was seen by the end of 3 months after surgery in all patients. At a minimum follow-up of 5 years, the neurological symptoms of all patients had improved from before surgery levels. No immunoreaction was encountered. There was no olisthesis and only mild degenerative changes of the transplanted discs. All except one of the discs showed preservation of 7.0-11.3 degrees of sagittal motion at the final follow-up. MRI at 5 years showed preservation of hydration in at least two discs.


Despite signs of mild disc degeneration, the motion and stability of the spinal unit was preserved after transplantation of fresh-frozen allogenic intervertebral discs in our patients. With further refinements, such transplantations could be an effective treatment for degenerative disc disease.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center