Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Lower Spine News

Disc Height and Type of Bone Graft: Do They Make a Difference in Spinal Fusion?

Does it matter how "collapsed" a disc is on the outcome of spinal fusion? The study looks at disc height measured before the spinal fusion as a factor in the final outcome.

All 392 patients in this study had a single-level anterior lumbar fusion. The disc was removed and two disc fusion cages were inserted in the disc space. Normal disc height was restored.

The group was divided into two groups based on what kind of graft material was used inside the fusion cages. Group one had bone protein made in the laboratory for their graft material. This protein causes bone to grow for a successful fusion. Group two used bone graft harvested from the patients' own pelvic bone.

All disc spaces or disc height were measured before surgery. The patients were divided into three groups: tall, intermediate, and collapsed. The tall group had the biggest disc space. The collapsed group had the smallest disc space. The intermediate group was in between tall and collapsed.

The authors report all patients got better in the first six weeks. Patients in all three groups continued to improve between six weeks and six months.

The collapsed disc group with the most disc space narrowing had the most improvement. Type of bone graft didn't seem to make a difference in the results measured three months later.

Thomas C. Schuler, MD et al. The Correlation Between Preoperative Disc Space Height and Clinical Outcomes After Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. In Journal of Spinal Disorders. October 2005. Vol. 18. No. 5. Pp. 396-401.


*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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