Comparative Study of Radiographic Disc Height Changes Using Two Different Interbody Devices for Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Open Box vs. Fenestrated Tube Interbody Cage

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Study Design.Retrospective comparative study of the postoperative subsidence of two interbody devices following posterior or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF/TLIF) for degenerative spondylolisthesis of the lumbar spine.Objective.To assess certain radiograph characteristics of PLIF/TLIF using two interbody fusion devices at L4–L5.Summary of Background Data.PLIF can achieve spinal stabilization with vertebral body support and direct neural decompression. Although various interbody devices have been used in PLIF procedures, no radiographic studies have compared the load-bearing capabilities of open box and fenestrated tube interbody cages.Methods.Seventy-five patients who underwent one-level PLIF in the L4–Lsegment for degenerative spondylolisthesis were retrospectively reviewed with a minimum 2-year follow-up. Fenestrated tube (Group FT: n = 0) or open box (Group OB: n = 5) cages were used for the PLIF procedure. The following radiographic parameters were evaluated to compare the load-bearing capabilities: disc space height (DH); percent increase and decrease of disc height (% IDH and % DDH, respectively); and percent coverage of the cage on the endplate (% CC).Results.There were no significant differences in the baseline data, including age, segmental instability and osteoporotic status, between the two groups. Anterior %IDH and % CC were significantly higher in Group OB than in Group FT (% IDH: 69.4% vs. 57.3%; % OC: 24.5% vs. 12.9%), and anterior and posterior % DDH were significantly higher in Group FT than in Group OB (anterior: −2.9% vs. −.1%; posterior: −6.6% vs. −.3%). Although the restored DH gradually reduced over time in both groups, significant reduction to the preoperative level only occurred in Group FT.Conclusions.The load-bearing capabilities of the open box cage are superior to those of the fenestrated tube cage. Since there were no significant differences between the baseline status of the two groups, the larger cross-sectional area and stable framework design of the open box cage appears to bring about a greater load-bearing capability. Therefore, the open box cage seems to be biomechanically more advantageous as an interbody device for PLIF than the fenestrated tube cage.

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