The maturation of grafted bone after posterior lumbar interbody fusion with an interbody carbon cage: a prospective five-year study

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2011 Dec;93(12):1638-45. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.93B12.26063.


We evaluated the maturation of grafted bone in cases of successful fusion after a one- or two-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) using interbody carbon cages. We carried out a five-year prospective longitudinal radiological evaluation of patients using plain radiographs and CT scans. One year after surgery, 117 patients with an early successful fusion were selected for inclusion in the study. Radiological evaluation of interbody bone fusion was graded on a 4-point scale. The mean grades of all radiological and CT assessments increased in the five years after surgery, and differences compared to the previous time interval were statistically significant for three or four years after surgery. Because the grafted bone continues to mature for three years after surgery, the success of a fusion should not be assessed until at least three years have elapsed. There were no significant differences in the longitudinal patterns of grafted bone maturity between iliac bone and local bone. However, iliac bone grafting may remodel faster than local bone.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Transplantation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone Transplantation / methods
  • Carbon / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ilium / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ilium / surgery
  • Internal Fixators
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery
  • Spinal Fusion / instrumentation
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Carbon