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A Comparison between Structural Allografts and Polyetheretherketone Interbody Spacers Used in Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Asian Spine Journal 2024 January 31
Among interbody implants used during anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), structural allografts and polyetheretherketone (PEEK) are the most used spacers. Currently, no consensus has been established regarding the superiority of either implant, with US surgeons preferring structural allografts, whereas UK surgeons preferring PEEK. The purpose of this systematic review (level of evidence, 4) was to compare postoperative and patient-reported outcomes between the use of structural allografts PEEK interbody spacers during ACDF. Five electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane) were searched for articles comparing the usage of structural allograft and PEEK interbody spacers during ACDF procedures from inception to April 10, 2023. The searches were conducted using the keywords "Spine," "Allograft," and "PEEK" and were performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis guidelines. Subsequent quality and sensitivity analyses were performed on the included studies. Nine studies involving 1,074 patients were included. Compared with the PEEK group, the structural allograft group had comparable rates of postoperative pseudoarthrosis (p=0.58). However, when stratified according to the number of levels treated, the 3-level ACDF PEEK group was 3.45 times more likely to have postoperative pseudoarthrosis than the structural allograft group (p=0.01). Subsequent postoperative outcomes (rate of subsidence and change in the preoperative and postoperative segmental disc heights) were comparable between the PEEK and structural allograft groups. Patient-reported outcomes (Visual Analog Scale [VAS] of neck pain and Neck Disability Index [NDI]) were comparable. This study showed that for 3-level ACDFs, the use of structural allografts may confer higher fusion rates. However, VAS neck pain, NDI, and subsidence rates were comparable between structural allografts and PEEK cages. In addition, no significant difference in pseudoarthrosis rates was found between PEEK cages and structural allografts in patients undergoing 1- and 2-level ACDFs.

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