Ata George Kasis, Cyrus Jensen, Rahul Dharmadhikari, Benjamin Ross Emmerson, Matthew Mawdsley

February 2021, pp 1 - 7 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06758-8

First Online: 15 February 2021

Novel bone grafting technique in stand-alone ALIF procedure combining allograft and autograft (‘Northumbria Technique')—Fusion rate and functional outcomes in 100 consecutive patients


Successful ALIF surgery depends upon achieving solid fusion, whilst avoiding significant complications. Herein, we present the ‘Northumbria Technique’ of combining allograft with autograft in order to achieve solid interbody fusion.

Materials and Methods

A single-surgeon series of 100 consecutive patients undergoing stand-alone ALIF from 2016 to 2019 was studied. All had percutaneously harvested iliac crest bone graft (ICBG) dowels inserted into blocks of fresh frozen femoral head (FFFH) allograft, which were then inserted into the ALIF cages. Patients had dynamic radiographs at 4 months, CT at 6 months, and patient reported outcome measure scores (PROMS) throughout.


One hundred patients (average age 44.8 years) were followed-up for an average of 29.1 months. Ninety-four (94%) patients were assessed as having fused on both CT and radiographs by an independent Radiologist. Three (3%) patients had abolition of movement on radiographs, but either lacked a CT scan or failed to meet Williams criteria for fusion. Two patients failed to attend for any imaging, so were considered not fused, and one patient had no evidence of fusion in either modality. There was a significant improvement in all PROMS. There were no intra-operative complications, and one patient had transient donor-site pain.


The newly described ‘Northumbria Technique’ utilises the osteoconductive characteristics of the FFFH allograft, as well as the osteoinductive and osteogenic properties of the ICBG autograft. It gives high fusion rates (94–97%) and statistically significant improvements in PROMS, whilst avoiding the complications of harvesting a large amount of autograft and the huge costs of using synthetic agents.

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