Evolution of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and titanium interbody devices for spinal procedures: a comprehensive review of the literature

Nallammai Muthiah, Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Nima Alan, Nitin Agarwal, David Kojo Hamilton, Alp Ozpinar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Interbody fusion is commonly utilized for arthrodesis and stability among patients undergoing spine surgery. Over the last few decades, interbody device materials, such as titanium and polyetheretherketone (PEEK), have been replacing traditional autografts and allografts for interbody fusion. As such, with the exponential growth of bioengineering, a large variety cage surface technologies exist. Different combinations of cage component materials and surface modifications have been created to optimize interbody constructs for surgical use. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of common surface technologies, their performance in the clinical setting, and recent modifications and material combinations. Materials and Methods: We performed a comprehensive review of the literature on titanium and PEEK as medical devices between 1964 and 2021. We searched five major databases, resulting in 4974 records. Articles were screened for inclusion manually by two independent reviewers, resulting in 237 articles included for review. Conclusion: Interbody devices have rapidly evolved over the last few decades. Biomaterial and biomechanical modifications have allowed for continued design optimization. While titanium has a high osseointegrative capacity, it also has a high elastic modulus and is radio-opaque. PEEK, on the other hand, has a lower elastic modulus and is radiolucent, though PEEK has poor osseointegrative capacity. Surface modifications, material development advancements, and hybrid material devices have been utilized in search of an optimal spinal implant which maximizes the advantages and minimizes the disadvantages of each interbody material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2547-2556
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • 3D printing
  • Cervical
  • Lumbar
  • Porous
  • Technology


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