Robinson Anterior Cervical Fusion: Comparison of the Standard and Modified Techniques

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In 1990 the authors modified the Robinson anterior cervical interbody fusion technique by burring the endplates to expose subchondral bone. The authors compared 31 patients having the standard technique and 29 patients having the modified technique to evaluate 1) setting of the bone graft, 2) kyphotic angulation, 3) pseudarthrosis rate, and 4) pain outcome. In the standard Robinson fusion technique, the average loss of height across the fused segments was 0.8 mm and the average increase in kyphosis 4.9°. Values for the modified technique were 1.9 mm and 3.1°, respectively. The change in height was statistically significant (P = .01), as was the differences in angulation (P = .028), though the latter was in the opposite direction predicted. The pseuarthrosis rate using the modified technique decreased to 4.4% per level. Pain outcome for the two groups was equivalent. Burring of the endplates for anterior cervical interbody arthrodesis results in a detectable but not clinically important amount of graft settling with a higher success rate for arthrodesis.

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