What is adjacent segment disease?
Adjacent segment disease being the appearance of degeneration of the disc at the level either above or below a fused disc level, so what that means is if someone had a disc degeneration and fusion at C5-C6, it was generally considered that the adjacent segments, i.e., C6-C7 or C4-C5 would be more likely to develop this degeneration. This concept was in large part the basis of why we were so excited about artificial disc replacement because by preserving motion we hope that the adjacent disc would not degenerate or certainly not degenerate as fast. This actually may be a non-issue. A recent article on comparing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, artificial discs and found no difference at least not in a short-term followup. So, I think it is best if you have been considered for disc replacements or motion preserving device– that is to say an artificial disc versus fusion– that you discussed this with your surgeon reviewing carefully the pros and cons.