Anterior Cervical Arthrodesis with Polyetheretherketone Spacers: What is the Role of the Grafting Material?

Donald A. Ross, Jeffrey M. Pollock, Ningcheng Peter Li, Jung U. Yoo, James T. Obayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Study Design:This was a retrospective study of 2 surgeons' use of a single polyetheretherketone (PEEK) device.Objective:Our objective was to investigate the fusion adjunct placed within PEEK devices to examine the likelihood of an arthrodesis, regardless of the PEEK interbody device itself.Summary of Background Data:The effectiveness of PEEK interbody devices in anterior cervical arthrodesis has been questioned.Methods:The authors retrospectively reviewed the results of 121 patients with demineralized bone matrix (DBM) and 96 with local autograft bone placed within identical PEEK devices for anterior cervical arthrodesis (from 2011 to 2018); 1 surgeon used DBM and another local autograft bone. Arthrodesis was determined independently by a surgeon and 2 blinded neuroradiologists.Results:For DBM versus autograft; mean age was 60 versus 61 years, smoking status 42.1% versus 31%, diabetes mellitus 18.2% versus 28%, mean body mass index 31 versus 30, and follow up averaged 17 months in both groups. For DBM versus autograft; a radiographic arthrodesis was observed in 22.3% versus 76% of patients. Refusion at the index level was required in 5.8% of the DBM and 0% of the autograft patients.Conclusions:A PEEK interbody device filled with local autograft resulted in a higher radiographic fusion rate and a lower need for reoperation at the index level than an identical device filled with DBM. Caution is warranted in assigning fusion failure to the PEEK device alone in anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E539-E544
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2020


  • anterior cervical fusion
  • arthrodesis
  • demineralized bone matrix
  • local autograft bone
  • polyetheretherketone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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