Mesenchymal stem cell allograft as a fusion adjunct in one- and two-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion: A matched cohort analysis

Steven J. McAnany, Junyoung Ahn, Islam M. Elboghdady, Alejandro Marquez-Lara, Nomaan Ashraf, Branko Svovrlj, Samuel C. Overley, Kern Singh, Sheeraz A. Qureshi

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35 Scopus citations


Background context Live mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) allograft-containing allogeneic bone grafts have recently gained popularity and currently account for greater than 17% of all bone grafts and bone graft substitutes used in spinal surgery. Although the claim of cellular bone matrices containing osteogenic cells with osteoinductive properties is attractive, little is known about their clinical success when used in anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Purpose The objective of this study was to report on the radiographic fusion rates in one- and two-level instrumented ACDF using an MSC. Study design/setting This was a retrospective review of prospectively matched cohort of patients with radiologic assessment of fusion as the primary end point. Patient sample Two matched cohorts of adult patients who underwent ACDF with MSC or standard allograft were included. Outcomes measures The outcome measures included radiographic and clinical evidence of healing at 1 year. Methods A consecutive series of 57 patients who underwent a one- or two-level instrumented ACDF procedure between 2010 and 2012 were retrospectively analyzed. All fusion constructs comprised an interbody allograft, an anterior plate, and Osteocel (NuVasive, San Diego, CA, USA). These patients were matched to a control group of 57 patients. Results Of the 57 cases in both cohorts, 29 (50.9%) were single-level, and 28 (49.1%) were two-level instrumented ACDFs. There were no significant differences in patient age (p=.71), gender, comorbidity burden (Charlson Comorbidity Index [CCI]: 1.95; 2.42, p=.71) or body mass index (p=.79). At the 1-year follow-up, 50 of 57 (87.7%) patients in the Osteocel cohort demonstrated a solid fusion compared with 54 of 57 (94.7%) in the control group (p=.19). Seven (12.3%) patients in the Osteocel cohort were reported as having a failed fusion at 1 year. Conclusions This is the first non-industry sponsored study to analyze a matched cohort assessing the 1-year arthrodesis rates associated with a nonstructural MSC allograft in one- and two-level ACDF procedures. Although not statistically significant, patients treated with MSC allografts demonstrated lower fusion rates compared with a matched non-MSC cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-167
Number of pages5
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Cellular bone matrices
  • Mesenchymal stem cell allograft
  • Pseudarthrosis
  • Radiological assessment of fusion
  • Structural allograft


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