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J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong). 2019 Sep-Dec;27(3):2309499019869166. doi: 10.1177/2309499019869166.

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for cervical myelopathy using stand-alone tricortical iliac crest autograft: Predictive factors for neurological and fusion outcomes.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.



The purpose of this article is to investigate the outcomes after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery with stand-alone tricortical iliac crest autograft and to determine predictive factors for poor neurological recovery, non-union, graft collapse and loss of C2-C7 sagittal alignment.


This was a retrospective study involving patients with cervical myelopathy who underwent ACDF surgery with stand-alone tricortical iliac autograft between 2006 and 2016, with a minimum 2-year postoperative follow-up. Outcomes included the change in Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores clinically and timing of fusion, graft height and C2-7 angle measured on lateral radiographs. Any complication such as neurological deterioration, non-union, graft collapse or loss of angle was recorded. Delayed union was considered as radiological union identified only beyond postoperative 6 months. Risk factors including age, smoking, drinking, comorbidities and operative levels were analysed through a multivariate regression for their respective influences on the various outcomes.


Of the 69 patients studied, none of the patients had non-union, while 33 (47.1%) achieved fusion in 6 months. The most common complications were anterior protrusion of graft (5.8%) and hoarseness (2.9%). The 1-year mean change in JOA score was 3.9 ± 2.7. The C2-7 angle gradually became more kyphotic, despite an initial lordosis correction intraoperatively. The graft height also gradually collapsed during subsequent follow-ups. Multivariate regression model suggested that diabetics (cumulative odds ratio 7.4) and drinkers (cumulative odds ratio 8.6) were associated with delayed union.


ACDF using tricortical iliac crest autograft has satisfactory outcomes with low occurrence of complications. Diabetics and drinkers were predictors of delayed union.


anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); stand-alone; tricortical iliac crest


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