Arthroplasty in the military: a preliminary experience

The introduction of cervical and lumbar arthroplasty has allowed for management of cervical radiculopathy and lumbar degenerative disease in patients with the preservation of motion at the affected segment. While the early clinical outcomes of this technology appear promising, it remains unclear what activity limitations should be imposed after surgery in patients with these implants. This is of particular interest in military personnel, who may be required to return to a rigorous level of activity after surgery. The goals of the FDA trials evaluating various disc arthroplasty devices were to establish safety, efficacy, and equivalency to arthrodesis. Information regarding the level of physical performance attained and restrictions or limitations is lacking, as these were outside the objectives of these trials. Nevertheless, there data are essential for the military surgeon, who is tasked with guiding the postoperative management of patients treated with arthroplasty and returning them to full duty. While there is a single report of clinical results of lumbar arthroplasty in athletes, at this writing, there are no reports of either cervical or lumbar arthroplasty in active duty military personnel

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The most interesting part is that some of the patients in this study were Marines and Navy Seals.  If a Seal can return to active duty, one could assume a civilian should be able to golf.

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