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J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2017 Nov;60(6):691-700. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2017.0211. Epub 2017 Oct 25.

A Prospective Study with Cage-Only or Cage-with-Plate Fixation in Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Interbody Fusion of One and Two Levels.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.
Guri Cham Teun Teun Hospital, Guri, Korea.



The authors prospectively analyzed the effect of one-level or two-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), comparing stand-alone cages and cage-with-plate fixation constructs with respect to clinical outcomes and radiologic changes.


A total of 84 patients who underwent one-level (n=52) or two-level ACDF (n=32) for cervical disc disease and who completed 2 years of follow-up were included in this study. The patients were divided by cervical level and grouped into ACDF-Cage-only and ACDF-Cage-with-plate groups. The following parameters were assessed using radiographs: subsidence, C2-C7 lordosis angle, fusion segment angle, adjacent disc space narrowing, and fusion status. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the neck disability index (NDI) and visual analog scale scores for arm pain.


In the comparison of one-level ACDF-cage-only and ACDF-cage-with-plate groups, the NDI score was better in the cage-only group at the 3-, 12-, and 24-month follow-ups: however, no significant difference in clinical outcomes was observed. In the comparison of two-level ACDF-cage-only and ACDF-cage-with-plate groups, no difference in any clinical outcome was observed between the two groups. At the 24-month follow-up, subsidence was observed in 45.8% of patients in the one-level cage-only group and 32.1% of patients in the one-level cage-with-plate fixation group. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence rate between the two groups (p=0.312). Subsidence in the two-level cage-only group (66.6%) was significantly more frequent than in the two-level cage-with-plate fixation group (30%; p=0.049). The fusion rate for patients in the one-level cage-only group was not significantly different from that in the one-level cage-with-plate fixation group (cage-only, 87.5%; cage-with-plate fixation, 92.9%; p=0.425); fusion rate in the two-level patients were also similar between groups (cage-only, 83.3%; cage-with-plate fixation, 95%; p=0.31).


Our clinical results showed that for single-level cases, plate fixation had no additional benefit versus cage-only; for two-level ACDF cases, the fusion rate and clinical outcomes were similar, although the cage-with-plate fixation group had a lower incidence of cage subsidence than did the cage-only group. We conclude that physicians should be aware of this possible disadvantage associated with using cervical plates in one-level ACDF. However, in two-level ACDF, subsidence is more likely to occur without plate fixation, and thus the addition of plate fixation should be considered.


Bone plate; Cervical vertebrae; Diskectomy; Spinal fusion

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