Total disc arthroplasty versus anterior cervical interbody fusion: use of the Spine Tango registry to supplement the evidence from randomized control trials.

Staub, Lukas P; Ryser, Christoph; Röder, Christoph; Mannion, Anne F; Jarvik, Jeffrey G; Aebi, Max; Aghayev, Emin (2016). Total disc arthroplasty versus anterior cervical interbody fusion: use of the Spine Tango registry to supplement the evidence from randomized control trials. Spine Journal, 16(2), pp. 136-145. Elsevier 10.1016/j.spinee.2015.11.056

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BACKGROUND CONTEXT Several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have compared patient outcomes of anterior (cervical) interbody fusion (AIF) with those of total disc arthroplasty (TDA). Because RCTs have known limitations with regard to their external validity, the comparative effectiveness of the two therapies in daily practice remains unknown. PURPOSE This study aimed to compare patient-reported outcomes after TDA versus AIF based on data from an international spine registry. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING A retrospective analysis of registry data was carried out. PATIENT SAMPLE Inclusion criteria were degenerative disc or disc herniation of the cervical spine treated by single-level TDA or AIF, no previous surgery, and a Core Outcome Measures Index (COMI) completed at baseline and at least 3 months' follow-up. Overall, 987 patients were identified. OUTCOME MEASURES Neck and arm pain relief and COMI score improvement were the outcome measures. METHODS Three separate analyses were performed to compare TDA and AIF surgical outcomes: (1) mimicking an RCT setting, with admission criteria typical of those in published RCTs, a 1:1 matched analysis was carried out in 739 patients; (2) an analysis was performed on 248 patients outside the classic RCT spectrum, that is, with one or more typical RCT exclusion criteria; (3) a subgroup analysis of all patients with additional follow-up longer than 2 years (n=149). RESULTS Matching resulted in 190 pairs with an average follow-up of 17 months that had no residual significant differences for any patient characteristics. Small but statistically significant differences in outcome were observed in favor of TDA, which are potentially clinically relevant. Subgroup analyses of atypical patients and of patients with longer-term follow-up showed no significant differences in outcome between the treatments. CONCLUSIONS The results of this observational study were in accordance with those of the published RCTs, suggesting substantial pain reduction both after AIF and TDA, with slightly greater benefit after arthroplasty. The analysis of atypical patients suggested that, in patients outside the spectrum of clinical trials, both surgical interventions appeared to work to a similar extent to that shown for the cohort in the matched study. Also, in the longer-term perspective, both therapies resulted in similar benefits to the patients.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Evaluative Research into Orthopaedic Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Staub, Lukas; Röder, Christoph and Aghayev, Emin


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health


1529-9430, 1878-1632






Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

14 Jun 2016 16:11

Last Modified:

16 Jan 2020 05:13

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Propensity score-based matching Randomized controlled trial Registry Spine Tango




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