Cervical degenerative disc disease affects the part of the spine that is in the neck. It occurs when the cushioning discs between the vertebrae (the bones of the spine) start to deteriorate. The disease causes pain, numbness and weakness in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. These symptoms can be disabling and impact people’s quality of life and ability to function.
When treatments such as medication and physical therapy are not enough, surgery is an option. The most common surgery is anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (often simply called “fusion”). With fusion, the disc is removed, and vertebrae are fused together. However, this surgery sometimes has a negative effect on the discs next to the one being treated. Another surgical option is to replace the disc itself; this is called cervical artificial disc replacement.
Health Quality Ontario looked at the effectiveness, safety, durability and cost-effectiveness of cervical artificial disc replacement compared with fusion for treating cervical degenerative disc disease. We also looked at the budget impact of publicly funding cervical artificial disc replacement and the preferences, values, and experiences of people with cervical degenerative disc disease.
Read the full Health Technology Assessment report for more information.
The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health has provided the following response: The Ministry has a standardized process in place to review Health Quality Ontario recommendations. This takes into consideration Ministry priorities, implementation options, the need for consultation with impacted stakeholders, and funding considerations.