Autologous clavicle bone graft for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with titanium interbody cage

Technical note

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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Kitano Medical Research Institute and Hospital, Osaka; and
  • 2 Department of Neurosurgery, Himeji Medical Center, Hyogo, Japan
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A variety of donor-site complications have been reported for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) using autologous iliac bone graft. To minimize such morbidities and to obtain optimal bony fusion at the ACDF surgery, a novel technique was used to harvest cancellous bone from the autologous clavicle instead of the popular iliac crest graft. After a routine cervical discectomy of the affected level, a 1.5-cm linear skin incision was made over the clavicle within 2.5 cm of the sternoclavicular joint on the medial one-third portion. This portion is known as an anatomically safe zone, with no subcutaneous distribution of the supraclavicular nerve. Then, cancellous bone was harvested through a small cortical window developed on the clavicle. Care was taken not to injure the subclavian major vessels and the lung below the clavicle. A box-type titanium cage was packed with the harvested cancellous bone and then inserted into the discectomy-treated space for cervical interbody fusion. From 2009 to 2013, 16 patients with cervical radiculopathy and/or myelopathy underwent single-level ACDF with this method. All but 1 patient experienced significant improvement of clinical symptoms after the surgery and showed radiographic evidence of solid bony fusion and spinal stabilization within 6 months. Further, no peri- and postoperative complications at the clavicular donor site were noted. The mean visual analog scale pain score (range 0 [no pain to 10 [maximum pain]) at 1 year after the surgery was 0.1, and 13 of 14 patients with data at 1-year follow-up were highly satisfied with their donor-site cosmetic outcome. The clavicle is a safe, reliable, and technically easy source of autologous bone graft that yields optimal fusion rates and patient satisfaction with ACDF surgery.

Abbreviations used in this paper:ACDF = anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; VAS = visual analog scale.

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Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to: Koichi Iwasaki, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, Kitano Medical Research Institute and Hospital, 2-4-20 Ogi-machi, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8480, Japan. email: todaiji2005@yahoo.co.jp.

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online August 29, 2014; DOI: 10.3171/2014.7.SPINE131000.

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