For the first-time, a new study has been published in the International Journal of Spine Surgery, authored by Drs. Todd H. Lanman and Jason Cuellar, MD, documenting the successful outcome of a conversion of an Anterior Cervical Fusion to Artificial Disc Replacement.

The procedure, which was pioneered in the United States by leading spinal neurosurgeon and spine care innovator Dr. Lanman, restores a patient to near or full spinal motion in their cervical spine.

In 2016, Lanman performed for the first time in the United States what he termed Restorative Motion Surgery, a procedure in which he removes a patient’s previous fusion in their cervical spine, replacing it with an artificial disc device at one or more levels. This allows the patient to regain near or full motion and mobility they had prior to undergoing fusion.

Along with his practice partner, Dr. Jason Cuellar, Dr. Lanman served as primary investigator of the newly published series in the peer-reviewed medical journal, following five patients who had undergone the procedure for an average of 12 to 24 months. Dr. Lanman has now performed the procedure on 23 patients.

What they concluded from the study was that reversal of Anterior Cervical Fusion with Pseudoarthrosis to an artificial disc replacement, through Restorative Motion Surgery, is ‘feasible and achieves postoperative range of motion that is similar to that achieved when performed in a segment not previously fused.’

The study used a pain and function questionnaire presented to all five patients. The questionnaire followed them from baseline to the postoperative period in five different measures, including the visual analog pain scale (VAS), neck disability index, PROMIS emotional distress-depression, PROMIS pain interference, and PROMIS physical function.

The findings concluded that conversion of fusion to ADR was successful in all five patients without intraoperative or postoperative complication or the need to perform revision fusion.

One of the patients Dr. Lanman performed the procedure on included a 25-year-old wrestler from New England, who went on to win his first gold medal, in 2018.

In every case, each patient has found that they regained near or complete movement in their necks prior to their original fusion surgery. It is important to note that this is still an off-label indication of artificial disc replacement surgery and not covered by most insurance policies at this time.

Dr. Lanman has been at the forefront of artificial disc replacement and spine medicine innovation for the last three decades, and he has served as principal investigator in almost all clinical trials relating to artificial disc devices, leading to their FDA approvals. Most recently, this has included the Prestige LP by Medtronic and M6-C by Orthofix.

He currently is presiding over two new clinical trials, which include the Synergy and prodisc SK and Vivo artificial cervical disc devices.

Dr. Lanman has been referred to as one of the top doctors in his field. He has been named one of the top spine surgeons in Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and Hemispheres, and was honored as a ‘Leader in Health Care’ by the Los Angeles Business Journal. A majority of his patients are A-list celebrities, high-level business people, and sports stars. He remains an associate professor at UCLA for two decades, and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. He also serves as a medical educator and expert contributor in the media.

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