Favorable bone fusion and clinical results have been reported for anterior cervical fusion (ACF) using titanium interbody cage (TIC). This method might induce postoperative subsidence and local kyphosis, but the relationship between radiological changes and preoperative local alignment is not known. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the impact of preoperative local alignment on the clinical and radiological outcomes of ACF using TIC.
The study enrolled 36 patients (mean age 49.8 years) who underwent single-level ACF using TIC for cervical degenerative diseases. Patients were divided into 2 groups by preoperative segmental lordotic angle at the operative level: group L, ≥0° (n = 16); group K, <0° (n = 20). Clinical outcomes included recovery rate according to the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score and complication rates. Radiological assessment was conducted for the cervical and segmental lordotic angles, subsidence, and bone fusion. Mann–Whitney test and chi-square test were applied to compare the outcomes.
The Japanese Orthopaedic Association score recovery rate was 77.2% in group L and 87.6% in group K, with no significant difference. No obvious complications were observed in any of the subjects. Mean cervical lordotic angles preoperatively and at last follow-up were 9.2 ± 9.5° and 11.3 ± 11.7°, respectively, in group L, and −1.3 ± 12.8° and 4.6 ± 13.3°, respectively, in group K. The mean segmental lordotic angles preoperatively and at last follow-up were 2.5 ± 2.2° and 2.6 ± 5.7°, respectively, in group L, and −4.5 ± 2.8° and −1.4 ± 5.8°, respectively, in group K. In group K, the cervical and segmental lordotic angles at the last follow-up were significantly greater than the preoperative angles. The change observed in group L was not significant. Subsidence of ≥3 mm was observed in 3 patients in group L and 4 patients in group K. None of the patients showed nonunion.
Anterior cervical fusion using TIC provided favorable clinical results regardless of preoperative segmental alignment. Although postoperative subsidence and kyphotic changes are concerns in patients presenting segmental kyphosis, ACF using TIC corrected both the entire cervical spine and segmental alignment. The TIC is useful for correction of the cervical alignment for patients with cervical degenerative disease with local kyphotic changes.