To assess the development of adjacent level degeneration (ALD) and index level facet arthropathy (FA) in patients treated with disc prosthesis compared with patients treated with rehabilitation.
There is controversy about the natural history of disc degeneration and the development of ALD and FA in patients who undergo disc prosthesis surgery.
The study included 116 patients with a history of low back pain for at least 1 year, Oswestry Disability Index 30 points or more, and degenerative changes in 1 or 2 lower lumbar spine levels. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed before treatment and at the 2-year follow-up. ALD and index level FA were determined on the basis of the majority assessment of 3, independent, experienced radiologists. ALD was assessed by evaluating Modic changes, posterior high intensity zone in the disc, nucleus pulposus signal, disc height, disc contour, and FA. Data were analyzed with Fischer exact test and t test.
ALD developed with similar frequencies in patients who were (n = 59) and were not (n = 57) treated with surgery. In patients treated with surgery, index level FA appeared or increased in 20 patients (34%) and decreased in 1 patient. In patients treated with rehabilitation, 2 (4%) had new or increased FA at the index/degenerated disc level and 1 had decreased FA (P