Long-term Effects on the Cervical Spine after Anterior Locking Plate Fixation
Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society (대한신경외과학회지), Vol.30(4) : 493~500, 2001
Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society (대한신경외과학회지)
Objective：Anterior cervical locking plates are the devices for achieving anterior cervical spinal fusion. This study was conducted to evaluate the locking plate system regarding its long-term advantages and disadvantages in the view of interbody fusion rate, hardware-related failures, vertebral change close to the fusion segment and postoperative complications.
Method：Eight-six patients, operated from Jan., 1996 to Jun. 1998, were followed-up for more than two years. All of the cases were fused with iliac bone graft and ORION locking plate(Sofamor Danek USA, Inc., Memphis, TN) fixation. The patients were discharged or transferred to rehabilitation department 2-7 days after operation. A comprehensive evaluation of the interbody fusion state, instrument failure, vertebral change and postoperative complications were made by direct interview and cervical flexion-extension lateral plain films.
Results：There were 55 male and 31 female with a mean age of 45 years(18-75 years). The mean follow-up period was 29 months(24-43 months). Various disorders that were operated were 40 cervical discs, 6 cervical stenosis including OPLL, 2 infections, and 38 traumas. Fusion level was single in 59 cases, two levels of each disc space in 15 cases, and two levels after one corpectomy in 12 cases. There was no instrument failure. Pseudoarthrosis was observed in two cases(2%) without radiological instability. The other patients(98%) showed complete cervical fusion with stable instrument. Mild settling of interbody graft with upward migration of screws was found in 12 cases(14%). Anterior bony growth at the upper segment was found in 5 cases(6%). Postoperative foreign body sensation or dysphagia was observed in 12 cases(4%), and disappeared within one month in 7 cases and within six months in 4 cases. One patient complained for more than six months and required reoperation to remove paraesophageal granulation tissue.
Conclusion：The results show that Orion cervical locking plate has some disadvantages of upward migration of screws, anterior bony growth at the upper segment, or possibility of esophageal compression even though it has advantages of high interbody fusion rate or low instrument failure. Author believe that anterior cervical locking plate in the future should be thinner, and should have short end from the screw hole, and movable screw with adequate stability.