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World Neurosurg. 2017 Dec;108:676-682. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.09.071. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Failure Patterns in Standalone Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Implants.

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Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, United States.
Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, United States; Department of Spine Surgery, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, India.
Seattle Science Foundation, Seattle, Washington, United States.
Spectrum Research, Inc., Tacoma, Washington, United States.
Swedish Neuroscience Institute, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, United States; Department of Trauma Surgery, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany. Electronic address:



Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is commonly performed using an allograft or autograft implant and anterior screw-supported plate. There has been an increase in the use of standalone cage devices due to ease of use and studies suggesting a lower rate of acute postoperative dysphagia. We review our experience with standalone cage devices and identify risk factors, patterns of failure, and revision surgery approaches.


We performed a retrospective case series of patients treated at a single tertiary care institution between March 2014 and March 2015. Inclusion criteria were aged 18-100 years, 1- or 2-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with a standalone cervical cage. Data collected included demographics, comorbidities, Charlson comorbidity score, primary diagnosis, and surgical characteristics. Descriptive statistics were performed for risk of readmission, implant failure, revision, and other complications.


We identified 211 patients who met our study criteria. Average surgical time was 107 ± 43 minutes, with an estimated blood loss of 84.6 ± 32.4 mL. There were 11 (5.2%) readmissions. There were 10 (4.74%) implant failures (5 involving single-level surgery and 5 involving 2-level surgery), with 7 cases of pseudoarthrosis. Mechanisms of failure included a C5 body fracture, fusion in a kyphotic alignment after graft subsidence, and acute spondylolisthesis.


Revision surgery after standalone anterior cervical implants can be complex. Posterior cervical fusion remains a valuable approach to avoid possible vertebral body fracture and loss of fusion area associated with the removal of implants secured through the endplates of adjacent vertebral bodies.


Cervical discectomy; Cervical plate; Complications; Interbody; Myelopathy; Radiculopathy

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