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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 64-B, Issue 2 | Pages 228 - 232
1 Apr 1982
Pearcy M Burrough S

Assessment of bony union after anterior fusion of the lumbar spine has previously relied on the skilled interpretation of plain radiograph. A biplanar radiographic technique was used to measure small movements between vertebrae and to give a quantitative measure of bony union in 11 patients who had undergone interbody fusion with autogenous bone chips at one level in the lumbar spine. The investigation gave three types of results: bony union, where the fused level showed marked restriction of movement relative to the rest of the lumbar spine; paradoxical movement, where the fused joint showed marked reverse movement (when the patient flexed, the fused level of the lumbar spine extended) which was thought to be due to an anterior bony bar which caused an altered pattern of movement; and non-union, where the level of fusion showed no restriction of movement. The intervertebral joint above the level of fusion was shown to move more than the other joints in the lumbar spine. The study showed that bony union is possible with the use of autogenous cancellous bone chips, and that biplanar radiographic technique can determine the extent of union.