Clinical Neuroscience

[Anterior cervical fusion on the lower cervical spine: own clinical experiences]


JANUARY 30, 2010

Clinical Neuroscience - 2010;63(01-02)

[Both acute and chronic instability of the cervical spine can be succesfully treated by anterior crevical fusion. The main goal is to create a spondylodesis through which the instable motion segments are fixed in the position defined by the surgeon. The spondylodesis is realised by the bone healing of the intervertebral space. The consolidation itself is facilitated by the operative stabilisation of the segments involved, and also by the implantation/transplantation of the osteoproductive/ osteoinductive materials. The sooner consolidation is achieved, the more likely it is to be able to avoid the material dependent complications and/or that of dislocation. So as to support this theory a retrospective clinical/radiological study was performed. During this the length and the safety of the consolidation was measured by applying various anterior cervical plating systems. A total of 485 patients having cervical injuries or degenerative disc disease were treated by anterior cervical plating. For bone transplantation partly pure autolog spongious partly autolog cortico-spongious morsalised bone chips, furthermore autolog tricortical bone block were applied. A standard protocoll was used for data collection, evaluation and also follow-up. The patients treated with plate systems were divided into 3 groups: Group 1: Non-locked H-plate system with autogeneous cancellous bone (155 trauma patients, for a total of 210 cervical motion segments, 1.35 segments/patients). Group 2: Non-locked H-plate system with tricortical autograft (167 patients, for a total of 290 cervical motion segments, 1.73 segments/patients). Group 3: Locked cervical plate system with tricortical autograft (73 patients, for a total of 110 cervical motion segments, 1.5 segments/patients). Patients treated with standalone cage belong to group 4. These cages were filled with autogenous cortico-spongiosus bone chips (90 patients, for a total of 90 cervical motion segments, 1.0 segments/patients). Evaluations included postoperative clinical, X-ray and CT examination, and follow-ups at 6, 16, 52, and 104 weeks. We established three grades, and classified the degree of bony fusion between the graft and vertebra: not-yet-fused, fused or non-union. When evaluating the results the following statements/observations were made: a) There is a fast and safe consolidation in the case of those patients that underwent dinamic disc osteosynthesis (p=0.00001). b) Whereas performing fixation with non-locked or locked screw plate systems and strutgrafted with tricortical autograft created prolonged healing requiring months and developed non-unions more often (non-locked screw-plate system versus locked screwplate system) (p>0.05). c) Using locked screw-plate fixation systems non-union rate in our study was 21%, suggesting that this form of fixation has only a limited use. d) In our study complete consolidation without pseudoarthrosis was achieved by using standalone cages filled with autolog cortico- spongiosus bone chips, but bony healing was delayed due to cage coating and the substitution of pure autogenous spongiosa for cortico-spongiosus bone chips. It is recommended to treat acute/chronic instability of the cervical spine both by using non-fixed plate system with autolog cancellosus bone and by standalone cage filled with cortico-spongiosus bone chips as well. It is worth keeping in mind that by applying this lattest an extra surgery to harvest the graft will be avoided.]



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