Study Design. Retrospective chart review.
Objective. To report outcomes of a consecutive series of patients diagnosed with degenerative disc disease (DDD) between L4 and S1, treated with stand-alone anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF, either 1 or 2 levels) and use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 for bony fusion with instrumented fixation.
Summary of Background Data. Degeneration of the lumbar spine is described as lumbar spondylosis, or DDD. To treat DDD, surgical interventions include: ALIF, circumferential fusion (360° fusion), posterior spinal fusion, and total disc replacement. Currently, there has been paucity in the literature on the evaluation of ALIFs.
Methods. Researchers reviewed a consecutive series of patients with DDD who had undergone a 1-level or 2-level ALIF between 2005 and 2010, with the use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2. Patients' clinical and functional outcomes were documented. Radiographs were analyzed for disc height, mean optical density, and integrated optical density. Operative time, length of hospital stay, and estimated blood loss were also reported.
Results. Patients' 2-year Oswestry Disability Index and visual analogue scale presurgery scores significantly improved (P ≤ 0.0001). Patients' 2-year postoperative disc height was significantly greater than the preoperative disc height at the fused level (P ≤ 0.0001); there was no significant difference at the level adjacent to fusion. Majority of patients (107 of 115, 93.0%) satisfied fusion criteria based on mean optical density. Intraoperative time, estimated blood loss, and hospital stay was significantly fewer with 1-level and 2-level ALIFs than 360° fusions and total disc replacement.
Conclusion. Stand-alone ALIF used to treat DDD can produce comparative clinical and functional outcomes. ALIFs showed significant decreases in blood loss, operative time, and hospital stay. Furthermore, at 2 years' time, mean optical density suggests high rate of bony fusion, and no significant loss of disc height was noted at the adjacent level.
Level of Evidence: 4