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Eur Spine J. 2008 Jan;17(1):36-43. Epub 2007 Oct 10.

Complications and reoperations of the SB Charité lumbar disc prosthesis: experience in 75 patients.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University Hospital Maastricht, Postbox 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Artificial disc prosthesis show fair to good short- and mid-term results. Long-term results are becoming apparent now, however, the incidence of late complications with this procedure remain poorly understood. In this report we will analyse late complications and discuss our experiences with salvage operations in patients with persistent pain after SB Charité disc prosthesis implantation. Seventy-five patients with persistent leg and back pain after insertion of an artificial disc prosthesis were enrolled in the study. In this negative selection frequently occurring late-complications were subsidence, wear, adjacent disc degeneration, facet joint degeneration and migration. In 15 patients we performed a posterior fusion without disc removal, and in 22 patients we removed 26 prostheses and performed a posterior and anterior fusion. The visual analogue scale (VAS) and Oswestry were examined before the salvage operation and after a follow-up period of at least 1 year, which is not yet available in all patients. The VAS and Oswestry decreased in the posterior group (n = 10) respectively from 8.0 (SD 0.9) to 6.3 (SD 2.1) and from 57.0 (SD 17.0) to 44.6 (SD 20.4); and in the disc removal group (n = 14) respectively from 8.0 (SD 0.9) to 5.6 (SD 2.7) and from 56.3 (SD 14.0) to 43.0 (SD 20.7). Serious late complications may occur following total disc replacement. Removal of the SB Charité artificial disc is feasible but with inherent risks. Removal of the disc prosthesis gives slightly better results than posterior fusion alone after a follow-up of at least 1 year.

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