A meta-analysis of autograft versus allograft in anterior cervical fusion
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We performed a meta-analysis of one- and two-level anterior cervical interbody fusion (ACDF) on data derived from published, peer-reviewed journal articles to determine whether there is a difference in fusion rate, graft complications, or clinical outcome in patients undergoing ACDF according to whether autograft or allograft was used. ACDF is a common procedure for cervical spondylotic radiculopathy. Most published studies comparing autograft and allograft have not demonstrated any difference between grafts. The medical literature dating from 1955 was reviewed. Of 395 titles, only four studies comparing autograft with allograft in ACDF were appropriate for this analysis. The data from these studies – 310 patients and 379 intervertebral levels – were pooled and statistical methods were applied. For both one- and two-level ACDF, autograft demonstrated a higher rate of radiographic union and a lower incidence of graft collapse. It was not possible to ascertain whether autograft is clinically superior to allograft. Although autograft has a higher fusion rate than allograft, clinical results do not depend solely on radiographic results. The risk of graft site morbidity and patient preference should be considered when choosing the type of graft for this operation.
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