The Effect of Interbody Cage Parameters on the Rate of Subsidence in Single-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF): A Retrospective Analysis of 98 Patients.

Publication/Presentation Date



INTRODUCTION: Subsidence is a relatively common consequence after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery. This study aimed to identify the effect of radiological and non-radiological risk factors on subsidence after a single-level ACDF surgery with cage and plate.

METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent ACDF for radiculopathy or myelopathy at an academic center, University of Kentucky Albert Chandler Hospital, Lexington, Kentucky, United States, between January 2010 and January 2020. Subsidence was defined as the sinking of the interbody cage into the vertebral body at either the superior end plate (SEP) or inferior end plate (IEP) at the ACDF level and was measured manually on lateral standing x-ray. The numerical amount of subsidence was measured in millimeters as the sum of subsidence in the SEP and IEP and was further categorized into subsidence2 and subsidence3 (i.e., presence of subsidence > 2 mm and subsidence > 3 mm, respectively). Multivariate regression analysis was used to assess the effect of variables such as age, gender, body mass index (BMI), tobacco use, follow-up length, cage type, anterior cage height, posterior cage height, anterior cage height ratio, posterior cage height ratio, cage position, cage-end plate interface and cervical alignment on outcomes such as subsidence, subsidence2, and subsidence3.

RESULTS: A total of 98 patients were included, of which 46 (47.1%) were male. The mean age of the population was 47.6±8.4 years. Fifty-one patients (52%) experienced subsidence more than 3 mm. Anterior disc height ratio (ADHR) was calculated by dividing the anterior cage height by the anterior disc height (pmADH). The posterior disc height ratio (PDHR) was calculated by dividing the posterior cage height by the posterior disc height (pmPDH). There was no significant correlation between ADHR and PDHR with subsidence, (p=0.93 and 0.56, respectively). Gender, age, BMI, and smoking status did not affect subsidence either. Cage type significantly affected subsidence with a higher subsidence rate in VG2 cages compared to Bengal cages (p=0.05).

CONCLUSION: This study showed that in patients undergoing single-level ACDF with cage and plate, cage size and in particular cage height (if adjusted for individual patients) did not affect subsidence. Other factors such as cage-endplate interface, cage depth in interbody space, and cervical alignment did not significantly affect subsidence either. This might be attributable to the use of an anterior plating system that conducts the force and reduces the stress on the graft-bone interface.





First Page


Last Page





Medicine and Health Sciences




Fellows and Residents

Document Type