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Comparing Two Methods of Spinal Fusion for Scheuermann's Disease

Posted on: 11/30/1999
Severe forward curvature of the upper spine is called Scheuermann's disease. Surgery to fuse the spine in a more upright, functional position is often needed. In this study, two methods of spinal fusion for Scheuermann's disease are compared. The results are reported in terms of X-ray findings and post-operative complications.

Patients were divided into two groups. Group A had the standard fusion using ground up rib bone graft placed into each disc space. Group B had titanium cages packed with bone graft inserted into each intervertebral disc space. Patients in both groups were very similar in age, gender, height, weight, and body size.

The authors were interested to know if loss of correction over time would be a problem. In the past, loss of height has been reported when fusing the spine with bone graft. In this study there was no difference in results between the two methods. Problems such as infection or nerve damage were equal in both groups.

This is the first study to compare titanium cages to rib graft in the surgical treatment of Scheuermann's disease. The results didn't show any advantage of one method over the other. Given the extra cost of the cages (about $4,600) and extra steps in surgery, the authors have gone back to using rib grafts for this operation.

R. Arun, MRCS (Ed), et al. Do Anterior Interbody Cages Have a Potential Value in Comparison to Autogenous Rib Graft in the Surgical Management of Scheuermann's Kyphosis? In The Spine Journal. July/August 2006. Vol. 6. No. 4. Pp. 413-420.

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