Prince Fielder Neck Injury: Artificial Disc Replacement vs. Fusion

By John Peloza, M.D./Founder & Medical Director of the Center for Spine Care

 Editor’s note: Dr. John Peloza is not the treating physician for Texas Rangers baseball player Prince Fielder. This article is based on his clinical experience.


Neck pain and arm pain are common clinical problems in the U.S. and around the world.  Fortunately, there are effective treatments for the conditions that cause these symptoms. The most common diagnosis for these complaints are herniated cervical discs, cervical stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. Cervical fusion has always been the standard of care until the development of the artificial disc replacement. We now have long term outcome data comparing the two alternative treatments.

There are several Level I and II evidence-based medicine studies and meta-analyses of the literature comparing disc replacement versus fusion. In early follow up (two years or less), the results between the two treatments are similar for pain relief and neurologic improvement. The disc replacement patients improve and return to activity much faster.

However, in time (4 years or greater), the disc replacement patients have superior outcomes.  This is especially true for problems at the cervical levels around the fusion and redo or repeat surgery.  In most studies, there is a 200% or 300% increased chance of revision surgery when the initial surgery was fusion.  There were no inferior results with disc replacement compared to fusion. This is especially true in two-level problems.  The literature is clear–whenever a patient is a candidate for disc replacement, it is preferable to cervical fusion.


For more information on Dr. Peloza’s treatments for neck or back pain, or to fill out a consult form, visit the Center for Spine Care website or call us at 214-378-7200.


Stem Cell

Center for Spine Care offers stem cell therapy as a conservative treatment to promote natural healing for back or neck pain. Utilizing mesenchymal stem cells, this new method is used to treat patients with neck and back pain caused from degenerative disc disease.