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Revision of a Charité artificial disc 9.5 years in vivo to a new Charité artificial disc: case report and explant analysis

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This report describes a case of one-level total disc replacement (TDR) of L5-S1 requiring revision at 9.5 years following the index surgery due to polyethylene failure caused by high oxidation. Primary revision strategies for TDR include instrumented posterolateral fusion, or 360° fusion with replacement of the prosthesis with cages or allograft bone. A revision of a TDR with a similar prosthesis has not been described in the literature. An active 42-year-old female underwent TDR with a Charité artificial disc. She remained active and pain free for 9.5 years before presenting with moderate low-back pain and sciatica. Radiographic studies confirmed a fragmented polyethylene core. The failed prosthesis was revised to a new Charité disc with the patient again active and pain free for 6 months following surgery. Chemical and physical analysis of the core indicated high oxidation due to gamma sterilization in air; a process changed to gamma sterilization in nitrogen in 1998 to meet industry standards. No evidence of wear debris was noted. Revision of an artificial disc with an artificial disc can be performed safely and adequately with the Charité disc prosthesis as an alternative to fusion necessitated by a device failure. An anterior revision approach carries significant risk and should only be performed by surgeons experienced in anterior lumbar surgery.

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Correspondence to Thierry David.

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David, T. Revision of a Charité artificial disc 9.5 years in vivo to a new Charité artificial disc: case report and explant analysis. Eur Spine J 14, 507–511 (2005).

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