European Spine Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1440–1446 | Cite as

Spondylolisthesis adjacent to a cervical disc arthroplasty does not increase the risk of adjacent level degeneration

  • David Christopher Kieser
  • Derek Thomas Cawley
  • Cecile Roscop
  • Simon Mazas
  • Pierre Coudert
  • Louis Boissiere
  • Ibrahim Obeid
  • Jean-Marc Vital
  • Vincent Pointillart
  • Olivier Gille
Original Article



To understand whether a spondylolisthesis in the sub-axial spine cranial to a cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) construes a risk of adjacent level disease (ALD).


A retrospective review of 164 patients with a minimum 5-year follow-up of a cervical disc arthroplasty was performed. Multi-level surgeries, including hybrid procedures, were included. Multiple implant types were included. The two inter-vertebral discs (IVD) cranial of the CDA were monitored for evidence of radiologic degeneration using the Kettler criteria.


The rate of ALD in CDA found in this series was 17.8%, with most affecting the immediately adjacent IVD (27.4 and 7.6%, respectively p = 0.000). Pre-operative mild spondylolisthesis adjacent to a planned CDA was not found to be a risk factor for ALD within 5 years. Those with a degenerative spondylolisthesis are at higher risk of ALD (33%) than those with a non-degenerative cause for their spondylolisthesis (11%). Post-operative CDA alignment, ROM or induced spondylolisthesis do not affect the rate of ALD in those with an adjacent spondylolisthesis. Patients with ALD experience significantly worse 5-year pain and functional outcomes than those unaffected by ALD.


A pre-operatively identified mild spondylolisthesis in the sub-axial spine cranially adjacent to a planned CDA is not a risk factor for ALD within 5 years.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.


Adjacent level disease Proximal junctional failure Junctional kyphosis Cervical disc arthroplasty Spondylolisthesis 



Glynny Kieser for her editorial input.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

586_2018_5574_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (186 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 185 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Christopher Kieser
    • 1
    • 3
  • Derek Thomas Cawley
    • 2
  • Cecile Roscop
    • 2
  • Simon Mazas
    • 2
  • Pierre Coudert
    • 2
  • Louis Boissiere
    • 2
  • Ibrahim Obeid
    • 2
  • Jean-Marc Vital
    • 2
  • Vincent Pointillart
    • 2
  • Olivier Gille
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine, Canterbury School of MedicineUniversity of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.L’Institut de la Colonne Vertébrale, CHU PellegrinBordeauxFrance
  3. 3.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal MedicineCanterbury District Health BoardChristchurchNew Zealand

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