Remarkable stuff. My surgeon’s unenthusiastic view of X-rays is coming into focus.
Stryker views the matter differently, it seems. Their website says “PEEK material provides good radiolucency for post-op visualization.”
One study notes, “The use of a PEEK cage is becoming popular because of better elasticity and radiolucency.”
In a discussion of Stryker’s performance in the market from 2007, it is noted, “The advantage of PEEK is that it is radiolucent, which allows the surgeon to better examine the progression of bone growth after a spine fusion is performed.”
Of course, “good” and “better” are relative terms.
It seems a little nutty to make an ACDF device that obscures (to any degree) the documenting of the very process (fusion) it is intended to produce. Perhaps there is a trade-off of the strength of the cage relative to its radiolucency.
And it makes sense that nothing can surpass an auto- or allograft for post-op fusion assessment, as there, nothing at all obscures the X-ray.