A comparison of fusion rates and clinical outcomes of instrumented transforaminal interbody fusion (TLIF) between polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and titanium-coated PEEK (Ti-PEEK) cages is not well documented.
A single-centre, prospective, randomised study included patients who underwent one-level TLIF between L3-S1 segments. Patients were randomised into one of two groups: TLIF surgery with the PEEK cage and TLIF surgery with the Ti-PEEK cage. Clinical results were measured. All patients were assessed by repeated X-rays and 3D CT scans. Cage integration was assessed using a modified Bridwell classification. The impact of obesity and smoking on fusion quality was also analysed. Patients in both groups were followed up for 2 years.
Altogether 87 patients were included in the study: of these 87 patients, 81 (93.1%) completed the 2-year follow-up. A significant improvement in clinical outcome was found in the two measurements scales in both groups (RM: p = 0.257, VAS: p = 0.229). There was an increase in CobbS and CobbL angle in both groups (p = 0.172 for CobbS and p = 0.403for CobbL). Bony fusion was achieved in 37 of 40 (92.5%) patients in the TiPEEK group and 35 of 41 (85.4%) in the PEEK group (p = 0.157). Cage subsided in 2 of 40 patients (5%) in the TiPEEK group and 11 of 41 (26.8%) in the PEEK group (p = 0.007). Body mass index > 30 and smoking were not predictive factors of bony fusion achievement.
There is no significant advantage of TiPEEK cages over PEEK cages in clinical outcome and fusion rate 2 years after surgery.