PEEK versus titanium‑coated PEEK cervical cages: fusion rate

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:1501–1507

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is one of the most commonly performed procedures for degenerative cervical disease. The evaluation of fusion status is still not fully standardized, and a variety of measurement methods are used. This study presents our own evaluation of fusion by comparing two types of implants.

Methods A total of 170 disc spaces were operated on in 104 patients using PEEK (polyetheretherketone) cages and titaniumcoated (TC) PEEK cages. Patients were assigned to a specific implant using a randomisation table. Fusion status was evaluated based on functional radiographs and CT scans obtained at 12 months post-surgery. Multivariate mixed-effects logistic regression models were performed to assess the association of type of implant with different fusion rates.

Results At 12 months post-surgery, CT scans were performed in 86 patients (a total of 144 disc spaces) and conventional radiographs were obtained in 102 (a total of 166 disc spaces). Complete fusion was demonstrated in 101 cases (71.1%), partial fusion in 43 cases (29.9%). There were no cases of absence of fusion. A total of 85 PEEK cages (59%) and 59 TCPEEK cages (41%) were implanted. For PEEK cages, complete fusion was seen in 75 (88.2%) disc spaces, compared to 26 (44.1%) achieved with TC-PEEK cages. A significantly higher proportion of complete fusions (B = 15.58; P < 0.0001) after 12 months was observed with PEEK implants compared to TC-PEEK implants.

Conclusion Complete fusion was noted at 12 months post-surgery significantly more frequently with PEEK implants compared to TC-PEEK implants.