Restoration of Spinal Motion: Conversion of Anterior Cervical Fusion With Pseudarthrosis to Artificial Disc Replacement

Describe the technique and outcomes of the conversion of prior anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with pseudarthrosis to an artificial disc replacement (ADR).


Case report. Five patients completed the following pain and function questionnaires at baseline and postoperatively: visual analog pain scale (VAS), Neck Disability Index (NDI), PROMIS Emotional Distress-Depression Short Form-4a (P-EDD), PROMIS Pain Interference Short Form 6b (P-PI), and PROMIS Physical Function Short Form-10a (P-SF). Pseudarthrosis was diagnosed using computed tomography imaging of the cervical spine. The level of prior fusion with pseudarthrosis was remobilized after a standard anterior approach was made, and an artificial disc replacement was performed after revision discectomy.


The conversion of fusion to ADR was successful in all 5 patients without intraoperative or postoperative complication or the need to perform revision fusion. The average follow-up duration was 12.4 months (range 6–24months). VAS improved on average (median) from 6 (6.0) to 2 (2.2), NDI improved from 23 (21) to 15 (17), P-EDD 4a improved from 11 (11) to 4 (4), and P-PI and P-SF improved from 23 (22) to 16 (19) and from 37 (35) to 41 (39.5), respectively. Radiographic range of motion increased at the fusion conversion level from an average of 1° ± 1.2° to 8.1° ± 4.6° after the insertion of the artificial disc replacement.


The reversal of ACDF and conversion to an artificial disc replacement is feasible and achieves postoperative range of motion that is similar to that achieved when performed in a segment not previously fused.