Trials. 2022 Aug 26;23(1):715. doi: 10.1186/s13063-022-06574-5.
INTRODUCTION: To date, there is no consensus on which anterior surgical technique is more cost-effective in treating cervical degenerative disc disease (CDDD). The most commonly used surgical treatment for patients with single- or multi-level symptomatic CDDD is anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF). However, new complaints of radiculopathy and/or myelopathy commonly develop at adjacent levels, also known as clinical adjacent segment pathology (CASP). The extent to which kinematics, surgery-induced fusion, natural history, and progression of disease play a role in the development of CASP remains unclear. Anterior cervical discectomy with arthroplasty (ACDA) is another treatment option that is thought to reduce the incidence of CASP by preserving motion in the operated segment. While ACDA is often discouraged, as the implant costs are higher while the clinical outcomes are similar to ACDF, preventing CASP might be a reason for ACDA to be a more cost-effective technique in the long term.
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: In this randomized controlled trial, patients will be randomized to receive ACDF or ACDA in a 1:1 ratio. Adult patients with single- or multi-level CDDD and symptoms of radiculopathy and/or myelopathy will be included. The primary outcome is cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of both techniques from a healthcare and societal perspective. Secondary objectives are the differences in clinical and radiological outcomes between the two techniques, as well as the qualitative process surrounding anterior decompression surgery. All outcomes will be measured at baseline and every 6 months until 4 years post-surgery.
DISCUSSION: High-quality evidence regarding the cost-effectiveness of both ACDA and ACDF is lacking; to date, there are no prospective trials from a societal perspective. Considering the aging of the population and the rising healthcare costs, there is an urgent need for a solid clinical cost-effectiveness trial addressing this question.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04623593. Registered on 29 September 2020.