100 Consecutive Cases of Degenerative Lumbar Conditions Using a Non-Threaded Locking Screw System With a 90-Degree Locking Cap

Paul C. McAfee, Bryan W. Cunningham, P. Justin Tortolani, Ira L. Fedder, John C. Sefter, Charles Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This prospective study analyzes the perioperative outcomes and long-term fusion success of 100 consecutive lumbar degenerative cases. The cases were managed using a non-threaded locking screw system, in conjunction with polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cages, for posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) procedures. These 100 cases were compared to another prospective study treating patients with the same inclusion and exclusion criteria using conventional plate-based pedicle screw spinal instrumentation augmented with carbon fiber interbody cages. Methods: A total of 167 operative levels were treated in 100 patients (51 single-level, 39 two-level and 10 three-level cases). Eleven cases were revisions and 67 patients received interbody fusion cages. Patients had an average of 22.8 ± 4.0 months follow-up. Results: There was one instrumentation failure but no significant subsidence at the interbody fusion level. The disc space height was restored as part of the surgical procedure at the interbody cage levels: from 7.5 ± 2.3 mm preoperative to 9.0 ± 2.1 mm postoperative. There were 2 cases of pseudarthrosis (2 / 100 = 2%). The average operative time for 1-level cases was 111 ± 25 minutes; for 2-level cases it was 132.4 ± 21.8 minutes; and for 3-level cases it was 162.6 ± 33 minutes. Blood loss averaged 800 ± 473 cc for 1-level cases, 1055 ± 408 cc for 2 levels, and 1155 ± 714 cc for 3 levels. The length of stay was similar between the 3 groups (4.4 ± 1.2 days for single-level cases, 4.7 ± 1.1 for 2 levels, and 5.0 ± 1.1 for 3 levels; P > .05). There were 3 incidental durotomies, and 4 other patients developed infections postoperatively that required reoperation. Conclusion: The disc and foraminal heights can be restored and maintained with a unilateral cage and pedicle screw construct. Unilateral transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion using a PEEK cage combined with a non-threaded locking pedicle screw and rod system results in similar fusion rates to those achieved using the bilateral Brantigan interbody fusion cage or a single BAK Vista implant. When compared to the bilateral Brantigan cages, decreased operative time (P < .001), decreased blood loss (P < .001) and reduced incidence of dural tears (P < .001) are advantages of using a non-threaded locking screw system and single PEEK interbody cage for lumbar degenerative conditions without compromising subsequent fusion rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalSAS Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Deformity
  • Interbody Fusion
  • Spinal Instrumentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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