Implant subsidence is a potential complication of spinal interbody fusion and may negatively affect patients subjected to procedures relying on indirect decompression such as minimally invasive transpsoas lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF). The porous architecture of a recently developed titanium intervertebral cage maximizes bone-to-implant contact and minimizes stress shielding in laboratory experiments; however, its subsidence rate in patients has not yet been evaluated. The goal of this current study was to evaluate implant subsidence in patients subjected to LLIF.
Our institutional review board-approved single-center experience included 29 patients who underwent 30 minimally invasive LLIF from July 2017 to September 2018 utilizing the novel 3D-printed porous titanium implants. Radiographs, obtained during routine postoperative follow-up visits, were reviewed for signs of implant subsidence, defined as any appreciable compromise of the vertebral endplates.
Radiographic subsidence occurred in 2 cases (6.7%), involving 2 out of 59 porous titanium interbody cages (3.4%). Both cases of subsidence occurred in four-level stand-alone constructs. The patients remained asymptomatic and did not require surgical revision. Ten surgeries were stand-alone constructs, and 20 surgeries included supplemental posterior fixation.
In our patient cohort, subsidence of the porous titanium intervertebral cage occurred in 6.7% of all cases and in 3.4% of all lumbar levels. This subsidence rate is lower compared to previously reported subsidence rates in patients subjected to LLIF using polyetheretherketone implants.
Titanium; intervertebral cage; lateral lumbar interbody fusion; subsidence.