Synthetic devices vs. bone grafts: How complication rates compare in spinal fusions


Synthetic interbody devices and traditional bone grafts have similar complication rates, but pseudarthrosis can be more common in patients with allografts, according to a study in the May issue of Spine.

Researchers evaluated data for 11,430 patients who had one- and two-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusions with synthetic interbody devices or allograft/autografts between 2010 and 2022. They matched patients 1:1 based on factors that were significant predictors of all-cause surgical complications. 

There were no statistically significant differences in all-cause surgical complications between the cohorts. There also weren't any significant differences in specific surgical complications except pseudoarthrosis.

The study concluded: "all-cause surgical complications are similar in patients undergoing ACDFs with synthetic interbody devices or allograft/autographs. However, the rate of pseudarthrosis appears to be higher in patients with allograft/autographs. Future prospective studies are needed to corroborate these findings."

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