gms | German Medical Science

63rd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society (JNS)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

13 - 16 June 2012, Leipzig

Returning to sport after cervical arthroplasty in young patients with a soft disc herniation

Meeting Abstract

  • A. Reinke - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Technische Universität München
  • A. Preuss - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Technische Universität München
  • M. Behr - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Technische Universität München
  • J. Villard - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Technische Universität München
  • B. Meyer - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Technische Universität München
  • F. Ringel - Neurochirurgische Klinik, Technische Universität München

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Japanische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 63. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Japanischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (JNS). Leipzig, 13.-16.06.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocSA.09.03

doi: 10.3205/12dgnc364, urn:nbn:de:0183-12dgnc3644

Published: June 4, 2012

© 2012 Reinke et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: For the treatment of a soft disc herniation in the cervical spine the arthroplasty is often indicated in young patients. Especially this group of young patients has a high activity level with frequent exercising. However, the literature shows no data about the chances for a return to sports after arthroplasty of the cervical spine. Therefore, the present study aimed to address this question in a prospective observational design.

Methods: 47 patients, treated at our institution since May 2006, were included. Clinical status and radiographic parameters were evaluated in the follow-up. In addition, neck disability index, VAS and a questionnaire concerning athlete aspects (kind of sports, activity level, time of return, frequency of exercise, discomfort during activity, modified Tegner activity score) ware analyzed.

Results: A total of 47 (24 females and 23 males) patients with a single level soft disc herniation and a radiculopathy were treated with the Prestige® cervical disc. The average age was 40.45 years (range 21–56 years) and the mean follow-up period was 22 months (range 1 to 49 months). Mean neck disability index (NDI) during follow-up was 13% (no/mild disability) and mean VAS was 2.6. Two professionals (luge, bobsleigh athlete), 20 semi-professionals, 20 hobby athletes and 5 without any sports activity were operated. Mean time to resumption of sporting activity was 11 weeks after surgery. All professionals (participants of Olympic Games 2010) and semi-professionals recovered to their previous activity level. Both pros participated in the Olympic Games after their operation. 105% of the hobby athletes recovered to sport (20+1 initially “non-sportive”). Mean frequency per week was 2.9 preoperative and 2.7 postoperative. Mean duration of activity was 5.4 preoperative and 5.1 postoperative hours per week The Tegner-score was 3.8 preoperative as well as postoperative. Only 36% of all athletes were handicapped in their sporting activity by pain or cervical flexibility.

Conclusions: In this first series assessing sports in patients with cervical arthroplasty we could detect that the implantation of cervical disc prosthesis does not prohibit sporting activities. Even world cup class in high impact sports is possible. All patients recovered to previous activities in appropriate intensity level.