Revision surgery of spinal dynamic implants: a literature review and algorithm proposal

R. Cecchinato, A. Bourghli, I. Obeid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Dynamic stabilization of the spine has been performed since the 1990s with the double purpose of restoring spinal segmental stability and allowing residual movement at the operated level. When we take into account the different motion-preserving devices and the spinal areas where they are applied, we can identify three categories of spinal implants: anterior cervical, anterior lumbar, and posterior lumbar. However, as in all prosthetic procedures performed in orthopedic surgery, the life span of a joint replacement device is a central topic of discussion, and this is true also for spinal dynamic devices, being revision surgery a complex procedure in specific cases. Materials and methods: We performed a literature review on the different dynamic spinal implants and the most common causes of failure, providing clinical cases as illustrative options for revision surgery. Results: The review of the literature showed a 11.3% to 22.6% revision rate in posterior lumbar dynamic systems, with a peak of 40.6% in case of adjacent segment disease. In lumbar TDRs, infection and severe dislocations are the most frequent causes of anterior revisions, while posterior pedicle screw fixation could be a suitable option in minimal subsidence or TDR displacement. An algorithm for the planning of revision surgery is proposed. Conclusions: Surgical revision of spinal dynamic implants could be a demanding surgery especially in anterior approaches. Anterior cervical revision remains globally safe, but careful preoperative evaluation of vessels and ureter are suggested to avoid intraoperative complications in the lumbar spine. In posterior revision, a proper sagittal alignment of the spine should be restored. Graphic abstract: These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue numbersuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Dynamic spinal implants
  • Motion-preserving surgery
  • Revision surgery
  • Total disc replacement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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