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Fusion Rate 100 Percent With Expandable Cages for Cervical Spine

Posted on: 05/11/2006
Successful fusion of the cervical spine remains a challenge for surgeons. In this study, results of fusion with expandable cylindrical cages (ECCs) are presented. Twenty-two patients with cervical stenosis and severe kyphosis were included. The fusion rate at follow-up 18 to 34 months later was 100 percent.

Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal where the spinal cord is located. Many different conditions can cause this to happen. Cancer, car accidents, and disc bulges are three examples from patients in this study. Kyphosis is the forward curvature of the spine. This type of deformity is common with spinal stenosis.

ECCs are a new variation on titanium mesh cages previously used for spinal fusion. Since the ECC is expandable, the size and fit can be adjusted. The ECC matches the hole left when the vertebral bone is removed as part of the fusion operation.

With a 100 percent fusion rate, the authors suggest ECCs are a good choice for anyone having cervical fusion for stenosis and kyphosis. The ECCs are easy to insert and cause less trauma to the vertebral endplates. They can be used for up to three level fusions. However, surgeons are advised to use posterior instrumentation for multilevel fusions.

ECCs cost more but the results are likely worth it -- better fusion rates, improved alignment, and fewer problems afterwards.

Kurtis I. Auguste, MD, et al. Expandable Cylindrical Cages in the Cervical Spine: A Review of 22 Cases. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. April 2006. Vol. 4. No. 4. Pp. 285-291, 2006.

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