Background: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) may be performed using an interbody cage or graft with an anterior plate or with a stand-alone (SA) interbody device without the anterior plate. The pros and cons of each vary. This study examined the radiographic outcome of the two techniques with a focus on implant subsidence.
Methods: A retrospective review of cases of singe level ACDF by a single surgeon was undertaken. Medical and radiographic records were reviewed to determine subsidence, pre- and post-operative segmental and total lordosis in cohorts of both stand-alone and graft-and-plate constructs.
Results: The post-operative radiographs of 35 patients with a SA cage were compared with 41 patients with an allograft block and anterior plate (graft and plate; GP). There was no significant difference in overall subsidence between the two groups although there was a trend toward less clinically significant subsidence (2 mm) in the SA group. For single level ACDF, a SA device appears to be comparable in terms of undesired subsidence.
Conclusions: Further studies with different implants and materials may offer further insight.
Keywords: Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); allograft; cervical spondylosis; stand-alone cage (SA cage).