Multilevel cervical disc arthroplasty: a review of optimal surgical management and future directions

Tsung Hsi Tu*, Ching Ying Wang, Yu Chun Chen, Jau Ching Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) has been recognized as a popular option for cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy caused by disc problems that require surgery. There have been prospective randomized controlled trials comparing CDA to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for 1-and 2-level disc herniations. However, the indications for CDA have been extended beyond the strict criteria of these clinical trials after widespread real-world experiences in the past decade. This article provides a bibliometric analysis with a review of the literature to understand the current trends of clinical practice and research on CDA. METHODS The PubMed database was searched using the keywords pertaining to CDA in human studies that were published before August 2022. Analyses of the bibliometrics, including the types of papers, levels of evidence, countries, and the number of disc levels involved were conducted. Moreover, a systematic review of the contents with the emphasis on the current practice of multilevel CDA and complex cervical disc problems was performed. RESULTS A total of 957 articles published during the span of 22 years were analyzed. Nearly one-quarter of the articles (232, 24.2%) were categorized as level I evidence, and 33.0% were categorized as levels I or II. These studies clearly demonstrated the viability and effectiveness of CDA regarding clinical and radiological outcomes, including neurological improvement, maintenance, and preservation of segmental mobility with relatively low risks for several years postoperation. Also, there have been more papers published during the last decade focusing on multilevel CDA and fewer involving the comparison of ACDF. Overall, there was a clustering of CDA papers published from the US and East Asian countries. Based on substantial clinical data of CDA for 1-and 2-level disc diseases, the practice and research of CDA show a trend toward multilevel and complex disease conditions. CONCLUSIONS CDA is an established surgical management procedure for 1-and 2-level cervical disc herniation and spondylosis. The success of motion preservation by CDA—with low rates of complications—has outscored ACDF in patients without deformity. For more than 2-level disc diseases, the surgery shows a trend toward multiple CDA or hybrid ACDF–CDA according to individual evaluation for each level of degeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-381
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • adjacent-segment disease
  • artificial disc
  • cervical disc arthroplasty
  • disc replacement
  • range of motion


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