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Clinical and radiographic outcomes of extreme lateral approach to interbody fusion with β-tricalcium phosphate and hydroxyapatite composite for lumbar degenerative conditions

W. Blake Rodgers, MD, Edward J. Gerber, PA-C, Jody A. Rodgers, MD, FACS
Spine Midwest, Jefferson City, MO



Historically, iliac crest bone graft has been used as the graft of choice for lumbar spine fusion procedures. Because fusion techniques have become less invasive, the demand for minimally disruptive grafting options has increased. This prospective study was performed to assess clinical and radiographic outcomes of patients treated with an iliac crest bone graft alternative and lateral lumbar interbody fusion.


Fifty degenerative lumbar patients were treated with the extreme lateral approach to interbody fusion and a β-tricalcium phosphate–hydroxyapatite graft with bone marrow aspirate (BMA) at 1 or 2 adjacent levels. BMA was collected from the iliac crest with a bone aspiration needle and applied to the FormaGraft (NuVasive, Inc., San Diego, California) in a 1:1 ratio. Radiolucent cages were filled with FormaGraft strips, granules, or blocks and implanted in a standard fashion. Clinical data were collected at baseline, 6 weeks, and 3, 6, and 12 months and included visual analog scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form 36 patient-reported assessments. Fusion assessments were made from neutral anteroposterior/lateral radiographs, lateral flexion/extension radiographs, and computed tomography images taken at least 12 months after surgery.


Forty-four patients treated at 49 levels completed follow-up. The mean patient age was 54.7 ± 10.8 years, and mean body mass index was 30.8 ± 7.7 kg/m2. Radiographic fusion was observed in 41 of 44 assessed levels (93.2%). Blood loss was less than 100 mL in 95.5% of patients. Of the patients, 93.2% spent 1 night or less in the hospital. By the 6-week follow-up, all clinical outcomes were significantly improved (P < .05). Improvements were maintained or increased throughout the course of follow-up.


This report shows that the technique of extreme lateral approach to interbody fusion in combination with FormaGraft and BMA in the interbody space is a safe and effective treatment option for interbody fusion of the lumbar spine when compared with other approaches and biologic options.

Obese, spine, lumbar fusion, β-Tricalcium phosphate, Synthetic, Graft, BMA
Volume 6