The Efficacy of Plate Construct Augmentation Versus Cage Alone in Anterior Cervical Fusion

Spine 2009 Dec 15;34(26):2886-92.DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181b64f2c

Study Design. Retrospective study.
Objective. To compare the efficacy of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with cage alone (ACDF-CA) with cage and plate construct (ACDF-CPC) in regards to fusion rate, radiologic and clinical outcomes.
Summary of Background Data. ACDF-CA has shown good results; however, debate exists regarding the high rate of complications such as pseudarthrosis, subsidence, and local kyphosis. In an attempt to avoid these complications, the authors have performed ACDF with cage and plate construct (ACDF-CPC).
Methods. A total of 78 consecutive patients who underwent 1- or 2-level ACDF-CA or ACDF-CPC suffering from cervical radiculopathy were divided into 2 groups; Group A (n = 38) underwent ACDF-CA; Group B (n = 40) underwent ACDF-CPC. Fusion rate, segmental kyphosis, disc height, and subsidence rate were assessed by radiographs. Clinical outcomes were assessed using Robinson criteria.
Results. Solid fusion was achieved in 78.9% (30/38) of subjects in group A compared to 97.5% (39/40) of subjects in group B (P = 0.01). Segmental kyphosis was noted in 42.1% (16/38) in group A compared with 10% (4/40) in group B (P < 0.01). There was a significant decrease in disc height in group A compared to group B (P < 0.05). Subsidence occurred in 32.3% (19/59 levels) of group A compared with 9.7% (6/62 levels) of group B (P < 0.01). Clinical outcomes were similar for both treatment groups. The pseudarthrosis rate in group A was higher than that in group B (P = 0.01). Revision surgery was required in 10.5% (4/38) of group A, whereas none of group B required reoperation (P < 0.01).
Conclusion. The use of cage and plate construct in 1- or 2-level ACDF results in a more lordotic alignment, an increased disc height, a higher fusion rate, a lower subsidence rate, and a lower complication rate than that of cage alone; however, there is no significant difference in clinical outcome between groups