Asian Spine J.  2021 Feb;15(1):89-96. 10.31616/asj.2019.0260.

Comparative Effectiveness of Laterally Placed Expandable versus Static Interbody Spacers: A 1-Year Follow-Up Radiographic and Clinical Outcomes Study

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery and Oncology, Medical Center, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA
  • 2Southeastern Spine Institute, Mt. Pleasant, SC, USA
  • 3Department of Orthopaedics, Guanghua Hospital, Shanghai, China
  • 4Musculoskeletal Education and Research Center (MERC), A Division of Globus Medical, Inc., Audubon, PA, USA


Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Purpose: This study compared the clinical and radiographic outcomes of patients treated with expandable and static interbody spacers following minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-LLIF) with 12-month follow-up. Overview of Literature: A common surgical option for the treatment of degenerative disk disease (DDD) is MIS-LLIF using static or expandable spacers to restore disk height (DH), neuroforaminal height (NH), and segmental lordosis. Static spacers may require excessive trialing and aggressive impaction, potentially leading to endplate disruption and subsidence. Expandable spacers allow for in situ expansion to help address complications associated with static spacers.
This is an Institutional Review Board-exempt review of 69 patients (static, n=32; expandable, n=37) diagnosed with DDD who underwent MIS-LLIF at 1–2 contiguous level(s) using static or expandable spacers. Radiographic and clinical outcomes were collected and compared at pre- and postoperative time points up to 12 months.
The expandable group had a significantly higher mean change in Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months vs. static (∆VAS at 12 months: expandable, 6.7±1.3; static, 5.1±2.6). Mean improvement of Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores at 3, 6, and 12 months were significantly better for the expandable group vs. static (∆ODI at 12 months: expandable, 63.2±13.2; static, 29.8±23.4). Mean DH and NH significantly increased at final follow-up for both groups, with no significant difference in DH improvement between groups. The expandable mean NH improvement at 6 weeks and 6 months was significantly greater vs. static. Segmental lordosis significantly improved in the expandable group at all time intervals vs static. Subsidence rate at 12 months was significantly lower in the expandable group (1/46, 2.2%) vs. static (12/37, 32.4%).
Expandable spacers resulted in a significantly lower subsidence rate, improve segmental lordosis, and VAS and ODI outcomes at 12 months vs. static.


Minimally invasive surgical procedures; Spinal fusions; Lmplants and prostheses
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