Background: Anterior plate fusion is an effective procedure for the treatment of cervical spinal diseases but is accompanied by a high incidence of postoperative dysphagia. A zero profile (Zero-P) spacer is increasingly being used to reduce postoperative dysphagia and other potential complications associated with surgical intervention. Studies comparing the Zero-P spacer and anterior plate have reported conflicting results. Methodology: A meta-analysis was conducted to compare the safety, efficacy, radiological outcomes and complications associated with the use of a Zero-P spacer versus an anterior plate in anterior cervical spine fusion for the treatment of cervical spinal disease. We comprehensively searched PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library and other databases and performed a meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective or retrospective comparative studies assessing the two techniques. Results: Ten studies enrolling 719 cervical spondylosis patients were included. The pooled data showed significant differences in the operation time [SMD = -0.58 (95% CI = -0.77 to 0.40, p < 0.01)] and blood loss [SMD = -0.40, 95% CI (-0.59 to -0.21), p < 0.01] between the two groups. Compared to the anterior plate group, the Zero-P group exhibited a significantly improvedJOA score and reduced NDI and VAS. However, anterior plate fusion had greater postoperative segmental and cervical Cobb's angles than the Zero-P group at the last follow-up.The fusion rate in the two groups was similar. More importantly, the Zero-P group had a lower incidence of earlier and later postoperative dysphagia. Conclusions: Compared to anterior plate fusion, Zero-P is a safer and effective procedure, with a similar fusion rate and lower incidence of earlier and later postoperative dysphagia. However, the results of this meta-analysis should be accepted with caution due to the limitations of the study. Further evaluation and large-sample RCTs are required to confirm and update the results of this study.
Dong, J., Lu, M., Lu, T., Liang, B., Xu, J., Zhou, J., … He, X. (2015). Meta-analysis comparing zero-profile spacer and anterior plate in anterior cervical fusion. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130223