Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion with Double Banana Cages: Clinical Evaluations and Finite Element Model Analysis

Global Spine J. 2023 Mar 21;21925682231165709. doi: 10.1177/21925682231165709. Online ahead of print.


Study design: Clinical and basic study.

Objectives: This study aimed to investigate whether transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) using 2 banana-shaped cages leads to good clinical outcomes.

Methods: First, we conducted a clinical study to compare outcomes among patients who underwent TLIF using different types or numbers of cages. Propensity matched patients in each group were reviewed. Thirty-four patients who underwent surgery with 2 bullet-shaped cages (group A), 34 with a banana-shaped cage (group B), and 34 with 2 banana-shaped cages (group C) were compared. Twelve months after the surgery, bony fusion and cage subsidence were evaluated.

Results: The mean amount of cage subsidence was 14.9% in group A, 19.9% in group B, and 11.8% in group C. Subsidence in group B was significantly greater than that in group C (P < .01). Radiological bony fusion was not achieved in 2 cases in group B. Second, we performed a finite element model (FEM) analysis to determine the biomechanical stress of the vertebral endplate by comparing the single-banana cage construct with a double banana-shaped cage construct. FEM analysis showed that the maximum stress of the endplate in the single-cage model was 1.72-times greater than the maximum stress in the double-cage model. Furthermore, the maximal stress in the single-cage model was significantly higher than in the double-cage model during lumbar extension and side bending.

Conclusion: This study showed that TLIF with double banana-shaped cages led to good clinical outcomes with less cage subsidence, probably because of decreased mechanical stress on the vertebral endplate.

Keywords: interbody cage; subsidence; transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion.