Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) used at the lumbosacral junction provides arthrodesis for several indications. The anterior approach allows restoration of lumbar lordosis, an important goal of surgery. With hyperlordotic ALIF implants, several options may be employed to obtain the desired amount of lordosis. In this study, the authors compared the degree of radiographic lordosis achieved with lordotic and hyperlordotic ALIF implants at the L5–S1 segment.
All patients undergoing L5–S1 ALIF from 2 institutions over a 4-year interval were included. Patients < 18 years of age or those with any posterior decompression or osteotomy were excluded. ALIF implants in the lordotic group had 8° or 12° of inherent lordosis, whereas implants in the hyperlordotic group had 20° or 30° of lordosis. Upright standing radiographs were used to determine all radiographic parameters, including lumbar lordosis, segmental lordosis, disc space lordosis, and disc space height. Separate analyses were performed for patients who underwent single-segment fixation at L5–S1 and for the overall cohort.
A total of 204 patients were included (hyperlordotic group, 93 [45.6%]; lordotic group, 111 [54.4%]). Single-segment ALIF at L5–S1 was performed in 74 patients (hyperlordotic group, 27 [36.5%]; lordotic group, 47 [63.5%]). The overall mean ± SD age was 61.9 ± 12.3 years; 58.3% of patients (n = 119) were women. The mean number of total segments fused was 3.2 ± 2.6. Overall, 66.7% (n = 136) of patients had supine surgery and 33.3% (n = 68) had lateral surgery. Supine positioning was significantly more common in the hyperlordotic group than in the lordotic group (83.9% [78/93] vs 52.3% [58/111], p < 0.001). After adjusting for differences in surgical positioning, the change in lumbar lordosis was significantly greater for hyperlordotic versus lordotic implants (3.6° ± 7.5° vs 0.4° ± 7.5°, p = 0.048) in patients with single-level fusion. For patients receiving hyperlordotic versus lordotic implants, changes were also significantly greater for segmental lordosis (12.4° ± 7.5° vs 8.4° ± 4.9°, p = 0.03) and disc space lordosis (15.3° ± 5.4° vs 9.3° ± 5.8°, p < 0.001) after single-level fusion at L5–S1. The change in disc space height was similar for these 2 groups (p = 0.23).
Hyperlordotic implants provided a greater degree of overall lumbar lordosis restoration as well as L5–S1 segmental and disc space lordosis restoration than lordotic implants. The change in disc space height was similar. Differences in lateral and supine positioning did not affect these parameters.