While spinal interbody cage options have proliferated in the past decade, relatively little work has been done to explore the comparative potential of biomaterial technologies in promoting stable fusion. Innovations such as micro-etching and nano-architectural designs have shown purported benefits in in vitro studies, but lack clinical data describing their optimal implementation. Here, we critically assess the pre-clinical data supportive of various commercially available interbody cage biomaterial, topographical, and structural designs. We describe in detail the osteointegrative and osteoconductive benefits conferred by these modifications with a focus on polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and titanium (Ti) interbody implants. Further, we describe the rationale and design for two randomized controlled trials, which aim to address the paucity of clinical data available by comparing interbody fusion outcomes between either PEEK or activated Ti lumbar interbody cages. Utilizing dual-energy computed tomography (DECT), these studies will evaluate the relative implant-bone integration and fusion rates achieved by either micro-etched Ti or standard PEEK interbody devices. Taken together, greater understanding of the relative osseointegration profile at the implant-bone interface of cages with distinct topographies will be crucial in guiding the rational design of further studies and innovations.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine, v. 33, article no. 1.

© 2021 The Author(s)

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

RF is a clinical research scholar supported by the FRQS (Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec).