Original ArticleThe Correlation Between Preoperative Disc Space Height and Clinical Outcomes After Anterior Lumbar Interbody FusionSchuler, Thomas C MD*; Burkus, J Kenneth MD†; Gornet, Matthew F MD‡; Subach, Brian R MD*; Zdeblick, Thomas A MD§Author Information From the *Virginia Spine Institute, Reston, VA; †Wilderness Spine Services, The Hughston Clinic, Columbus, GA; ‡Orthopedic Center of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; and §Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Received for publication July 29, 2004; accepted June 16, 2005. Reprints: Dr. J. K. Burkus, Hughston Clinic, 6262 Veterans Pkwy., Columbus, GA 31909 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques: October 2005 - Volume 18 - Issue 5 - p 396-401 doi: 10.1097/01.bsd.0000175695.88920.62 Buy Metrics Abstract Objective: To determine whether preoperative disc space height (DSH) influences the clinical outcomes of patients diagnosed with single-level symptomatic discogenic disease and treated with a stand-alone anterior lumbar interbody fusion with two tapered threaded fusion cages, we performed a retrospective analysis of 392 patients. Methods: Preoperative radiographs were used to establish four study groups based on the patients' DSH: the tall disc group: DSH >15 mm; the intermediate tall group: DSH ranging from 10 to 15 mm; the intermediate collapsed group: DSH ranging from 5 to 10 mm; and the collapsed disc group: DSH <5 mm. Results: All of the patient groups exhibited improvement in their clinical outcomes. However, patients in the collapsed disc group (DSH of <5 mm) tended to have earlier and greater improvement in Oswestry Disability Index scores, Physical Component Summary scores of the Short Form-36, and Visual Analog Scale scores for low back pain. Conclusion: Symptomatic disc degeneration can be readily identified with plain radiographic findings, and patients' symptoms can often be relieved predictably with a stand-alone interbody fusion procedure. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.