Threaded lumbar interbody spinal fusion devices (TIBFD) made from titanium have been reported to be 90% effective for single-level lumbar interbody fusion, although radiographic determination of fusion has been intensely debated in the literature. Using blinded radiographic, biomechanic, histologic, and statistical measures, we evaluated a radiolucent polyetheretherketone (PEEK)-threaded interbody fusion device packed with autograft or rhBMP-2 on an absorbable collagen sponge in 13 sheep at 6 months. Radiographic fusion, increased spinal level biomechanical stiffness, and histologic fusion were demonstrated for the PEEK cages filled with autograft or rhBMP-2 on a collagen sponge. No device degradation or wear debris was observed. Only mild chronic inflammation consisting of a few macrophages was observed in peri-implant tissues. Based on these results, the polymeric biomaterial PEEK may be a useful biomaterial for interbody fusion cages due to the polymer's increased radiolucency and decreased stiffness.
Toth, Jeffrey M.; Wang, Mei; Estes, Bradley T.; Scifert, Jeffrey L.; Seim, Howard B.; and Turner, A. Simon, "Polyetheretherketone as a Biomaterial for Spinal Applications" (2006). Biomedical Engineering Faculty Research and Publications. 574.