PURPOSE: Bone substitutes' advantage is enhancing arthrodesis biologic support without further autologous bone graft harvested from other skeleton sites, as from posterior iliac crests; however, in our experience, bone substitutes' integration is often incomplete.
METHODS: From 2012 to 2017, we operated 108 patients by posterior instrumented vertebral arthrodesis in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) correction, mean main curve 80° Cobb, and mean age 12 years and 6 months, with all pedicle screws instrumentation in main curve/curves area and hooks at upper tip of implant; bone graft has been harvested only at vertebral level, without bone substitutes or autologous graft from other patient sites or allogenic bone graft. We matched this group with 98 patients previously operated in which we used calcium triphosphate.
RESULTS: At 3 year mean follow-up, all patients in group treated with autologous bone graft only have complete and stable arthrodesis without loss of correction (mean curve 27° Cobb) or instrumentation failure. At 6 year mean follow-up in the group treated with autologous bone graft augmented by calcium triphosphate, 96 patients have stable arthrodesis without loss of correction (mean curve 24°), 1 case has implant break, and 1 case has 8° Cobb loss of correction.
CONCLUSION: Bone substitutes are a further cost in arthrodesis surgery and suboptimal integration leaves foreign bodies on vertebras. Our experience shows that all pedicle screw instrumentation and bracing after surgery obtain stable correction showing in time a solid arthrodesis with autologous bone only, harvested at local site, without bone substitutes or further bone graft.