▪ Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Using a Porous Hydroxyapatite Bone Graft Substitute

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This study analyzed the use of a coral hydroxyapatite bone substitute for use in ACDF both with and without an anterior cervical plate.

Study Design.

The healing of multilevel anterior cervical fusions was tested using a goat model. Comparisons were drawn with histologic, radiographic, and bio-mechanical test data.


Forty-nine mature alpine goats had three-level anterior discectomies performed. Seven treatment groups of seven goats each were used; Group I with no fusion, Group IIa having tricortical iliac crest autograft, Group IIb having autograft plus an anterior plate, Group Ilia having tricortical iliac crest fresh-frozen allograft, Group IIIb having allograft plus an anterior plate, Group IVa having rectangular-shaped implants of porous hydroxyapatite, and Group IVb having ProOsteon 500 implants with an anterior cervical plate.


Histologically, at 12 weeks 48% of the ProOsteon (Interpore, Irvine, CA) implants were rated as incorporated, 10% as possessing a fibrous gap, 29% as collapsed, and 14% as extruded. Anterior cervical plating improved the results with 71% of the implants showing good incorporation, 24% with collapse, and 5% with a fibrous gap. These histologic results compare favorably with autogenous bone and are improved over allograft bone. Fluorochrome analysis showed that none of the implants had complete turnover with host bone, but that all possessed peripheral creeping substitution with cutting cones of new bone formation at 12 weeks. Biomechanically, the spines using the ProOsteon implant were less stiff in torsion than autograft, but equal in stiffness to allograft. Flexion-extension neutral zone stiffness was lower in the ProOsteon implant group than either allograft or autograft.


The use of a coral-based hydroxyapatite bone graft substitute for anterior cervical fusions led to significant rates of implant collapse at 12 weeks but showed excellent biologic compatibility with good early creeping substitution of the implant by host bone. The concomitant use of an anterior cervical plate with the implant prevents extrusion.

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