Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Five-year Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial for Lumbar Artificial Discs in Single-level Degenerative Disc Disease

Yue, James J. MD*; Garcia, Rolando MD, MPH; Blumenthal, Scott MD; Coric, Dom MD§; Patel, Vikas V. MD; Dinh, Dzung H. MD||; Buttermann, Glenn R. MD**#; Deutsch, Harel MD††; Miller, Larry E. PhD‡‡; Persaud, Elizabeth J. PhD§§; Ferko, Nicole C. MSc§§

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000003171
Randomized Trial: PDF Only

Study Design. A prospective, multicenter, randomized, controlled, investigational device exemption (IDE) noninferiority trial.

Objective. The aim of this study was to compare the 5-year safety and effectiveness of the activL Artificial Disc with Control Total Disc Replacement (TDR) systems (ProDisc-L or Charité) in the treatment of patients with symptomatic single-level lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD).

Summary of Background Data. The activL Artificial Disc received Food and Drug Administration approval in 2015 based on 2-year follow-up data.

Methods. Eligible patients presented with symptomatic, single-level, lumbar DDD who failed ≥6 months of nonsurgical management. At entry, 324 patients were randomly allocated (2 : 1) to treatment with activL (n = 218) or Control (n = 106, including n = 65 ProDisc-L and n = 41 Charité) TDR. At 5-year follow up, a total of 261 patients (176 activL patients and 85 Control patients) were available for analysis.

Results. The primary composite endpoint at 5 years for activL patients was noninferior to Control TDR. Relative to baseline, reductions in back pain severity and improvements in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were maintained for both the activL and Control TDR groups through 5 years. The activL group showed significantly better range of motion for flexion-extension rotation, flexion-extension translation, and disc angle, compared with Control TDR. Freedom from a serious adverse event through 5 years was 64% in activL patients, 47% in Control patients (log-rank P = 0.0068). Freedom from index-level and adjacent-level reoperation was high for TDR patients, ranging between 94% and 99%, respectively.

Conclusions. Long-term evidence supports lumbar total disc replacement as safe. The next-generation activL Artificial Disc is more effective at preserving range of motion than first-generation lumbar TDRs (ProDisc-L and Charité) and offers a higher safety profile. Other primary and secondary outcomes are similar between disc designs.

Level of Evidence: 2

*Frank H Netter School of Medicine, Quinnipiac University, COS, Hamden, CT

Orthopedic Care Center, Aventura, FL

Texas Back Institute, Plano, TX

§Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates, Charlotte, NC

University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, School of Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics, Aurora, CO

||Illinois Neurological Institute, Physicians, LLC, Peoria, IL

**#Midwest Spine Institute, Stillwater, MN

††Rush University Medical Center, University Neurosurgery, Chicago, IL

‡‡Miller Scientific Consulting, Inc., Asheville, NC

§§Cornerstone Research Group, Inc., Burlington, ON.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nicole C. Ferko, MSc, Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. 3228 South Service Road, Ste 204, Burlington, ON L7N 3H8; E-mail:

Received 4 April, 2019

Revised 4 June, 2019

Accepted 10 June, 2019

The devices that are the subject of this article were evaluated as part of an FDA-approved investigational protocol (IDE) or corresponding national protocol for treatment of single-level degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the lumbar spine (L4 to S1) in patients who have been unresponsive to at least 6 months of prior conservative care.

Aesculap Implant Systems, LLC (Center Valley, PA) grant funds were

received in support of this work.

Relevant financial activities outside the submitted work: board membership, consultancy, expert testimony, payment for lectures, patents, royalties, stocks, payment for development of educational presentations, travel/accommodations/meeting expenses.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Website (

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.