The majority of reviewed medical evidence suggests that interbody techniques are associated with higher fusion rates compared with PLF when applied to patients with low-back pain due to DDD limited to one or two levels. The evidence is generally of poor quality and retrospective in nature. Conflicting evidence exists supporting the role of interbody graft placement for improvement of functional outcomes; however, there is no Class I or II evidence to suggest that the use of an interbody graft is associated with worse outcomes, and Class II evidence exists to suggest that outcomes are improved. Complication rates of interbody graft placement, particularly of circumferential procedures, are higher in most series. Many complications, however, are associated with pedicle screw fixation and not with interbody graft placement per se. In the context of a single-level stand-alone ALIF or ALIF with posterior instrumentation, there does not appear to be a substantial benefit to the addition of a PLF. The addition of a PLF to a construct that already includes an interbody graft is, however, associated with increased costs and complications. Therefore, although the addition of supplemental fixation (a 270 degrees fusion) may be necessary for biomechanical reasons, it may not be appropriate to subject the patient to the morbidity of a full posterior exposure for placement of graft material. Significant differences in clinical outcomes between the various interbody techniques have not been convincingly demonstrated. No general recommendation can therefore be made regarding the technique that should be used to achieve interbody fusion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology