Technology Improves Assessment of Bone Fusion

Assessment of fusion after arthrodesis problematic due to lack of standards

THURSDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- While assessment of osseous fusion post arthrodesis is difficult, computer-assisted techniques may decrease subjectivity in assessing post-operative fusion, according to an article published in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Daniel R. Fassett, M.D., of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, and colleagues reviewed radiographs of 100 patients from three to 36 months after undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (512 intervertebral levels). A manual review was compared with Quantitative Motion Analysis (QMA) software.

Overall agreement between manual assessment and QMA was 87.5 percent of cases with each technique revealing fusion 61.7 percent and 64.3 percent of the time, respectively. When the techniques did not agree, QMA was more likely to predict fusion, the researchers report. Nearly all disagreements occurred between the manual and QMA methods when there was less than 2 mm of motion, which may be accounted for by variability in the flexibility of an individual bone, the report indicates.

"Osseous fusion after arthrodesis continues to be difficult to assess. New computer-assisted techniques can help to remove some of the subjectivity and biases associated with fusion assessment," the authors write.

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