Short-term and Long-term Complications of Cervical Disc Arthroplasty

Austin Q. Nguyen, Kevin Credille, Comron Saifi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Study Design: A narrative review. Objective: This review discusses the short and long-term complications associated with cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA). Summary of Background Data: CDA is a safe and effective motion-sparing alternative to fusion for the treatment of cervical disc pathology in patients with cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy. Although CDA offers advantages over fusion within a narrower set of indications, it introduces new technical challenges and potential complications. Methods: A systematic search of several large databases, including Cochrane Central, PubMed,, and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry, was conducted from January 2005 to August 2023 to identify published studies and clinical trials evaluating cervical disc replacement complications and outcomes. Results: Short-term complications are primarily related to surgical approach and include dysphagia reported as high as 70%, laryngeal nerve injury 0%-1.25%, Horner syndrome 0.06%, hematoma 0.01%, gross device extrusion 0.3%, whereas long-term complications include adjacent segment disease reported at 3.8%, osteolysis 44%-64%, heterotopic ossification 7.3%-69.2%, implant failure 3.3%-3.7%, and implant wear, which varies depending on design. Conclusions: Approaches for mitigating complications broadly include meticulous dissection, intraoperative techniques, and diligent postoperative follow-up. This review emphasizes the need for a comprehensive understanding and management of complications to enhance the safety, reproducibility, and success of CDA. As CDA continues to evolve, there remains a critical need for ongoing research to delve deeper into evaluating risk for complications and long-term patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-410
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023


  • arthroplasty
  • cervical disc replacement
  • complications
  • Diskectomy/methods
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration/surgery
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Humans
  • Cervical Vertebrae/surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Arthroplasty/adverse effects
  • Spinal Fusion/methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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