Håkan Löfgren, M. Engquist, P. Hoffmann, B. Sigstedt, L. Vavruch


March 2010, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 464 - 473 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-009-1161-z

First Online: 18 September 2009

A prospective, randomized, controlled study was carried out to compare the radiological and clinical outcomes after anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) with Trabecular Metal™ (TM) to the traditional Smith–Robinson (SR) procedure with autograft. The clinical results of cervical fusion with autograft from the iliac crest are typically satisfactory, but implications from the donor site are frequently reported. Alternative materials for cervical body interfusion have shown lower fusion rates. Trabecular Metal is a porous tantalum biomaterial with structure and mechanical properties similar to that of trabecular bone and with proven osteoconductivity. As much as 80 consecutive patients planned for ACDF were randomized for fusion with either TM or tricortical autograft from the iliac crest (SR) after discectomy and decompression. Digitized plain radiographic images of 78 (98%) patients were obtained preoperatively and at 2-year follow-up and were subsequently evaluated by two senior radiologists. Fusion/non-fusion was classified by visual evaluation of the A–P and lateral views in forced flexion/extension of the cervical spine and by measuring the mobility between the fused vertebrae. MRI of 20 TM cases at 2 years was successfully used to assess the decompression of the neural structures, but was not helpful in determining fusion/non-fusion. Pain intensity in the neck, arms and pelvis/hip were rated by patients on a visual analog scale (VAS) and neck function was rated using the Neck Disability Index (NDI) the day before surgery and 4, 12 and 24 months postoperatively. Follow-ups at 12 and 24 months were performed by an unbiased observer, when patients also assessed their global outcome. Fusion rate in the SR group was 92%, and in the TM group 69% (P 


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