Adjacent segment pathology: natural history or effect of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion? A 10-year follow-up radiological multicenter study using an evaluation scale of the ageing spine

Alessandro Pesce, Venceslao Wierzbicki, Emanuele Piccione, Alessandro Frati, Antonino Raco, Riccardo Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: Aim of this study is to compare late degenerative MRI changes in a subset of patients operated on with ACDF to a second subset of patients presenting indication to ACDF but never operated on. Methods: Patients from both subgroups received surgical indication according to the same criteria. Both subgroups underwent a cervical spine MRI in 2004–2005 and 10 years later in 2015. These MRI scans were retrospectively evaluated with a cervical spine ageing scale. Results: Comparing the two subset of patients both suffering from clinically relevant single-level disease returns no statistically significant difference in the degenerative condition of posterior ligaments, presence of degenerative spondylolisthesis, foraminal stenosis, diameter of the spinal canal, Modic alteration, and intervertebral discs degeneration at 10-year follow-up. Conclusions: The adjacent segment degeneration represents, in the present cohort, a result of the natural history of cervical spondylosis rather than a consequence of fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-511
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017



  • ACDF
  • Adjacent segment pathology
  • Ageing spine
  • Cervical arthroplasty
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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