Anterior fusion of the lumbar spine. End-result study with long-term follow-up

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1979 Dec;61(8):1143-50.


We reviewed the cases of fifty patients who underwent anterior lumbar-spine fusion with autogenous fibular and iliac-bone grafts and were followed for two to fifteen years. Their diagnoses were instability of the spine, degenerative disc disease, pseudarthrosis, and spondylolisthesis. Fifty-six per cent had union and 44 per cent, non-union. Those who had iliac grafts healed in an average of 2.5 years and those who had fibular grafts, in 5.2 years. The clinical result was successful in twenty-six patients (52 per cent) and unsuccessful in twenty-four patients (48 per cent). Paradoxically, about one-half of the patients with clinical successes had a non-union and one-half of the failures had union. Retrograde ejaculation (sterility) did not develop in any of the men, and a survey of world authorities on anterior spine fusion revealed only sixteen patients with the sequela of retrograde ejaculation. The incidence of that complication has been exaggerated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Transplantation
  • Female
  • Fibula
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ilium
  • Intervertebral Disc
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Pseudarthrosis / surgery
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*
  • Spondylolisthesis / surgery
  • Transplantation, Autologous