Successful fusion versus pseudarthrosis after spinal instrumentation: a comprehensive imaging review

John C. Benson, Vance T. Lehman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Noelle A. Larson, Ahmad Nassr, Felix Diehn, John T. Wald, Naveen S Murthy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose: Following spinal instrumentation and fusion, differentiating between successful arthrodesis and pseudoarthrosis on imaging can be challenging. Interpretation of such examinations requires understanding both the expected evolution of postoperative findings and the subtle indicators of pseudoarthrosis across multiple imaging modalities. Due to this level of intricacy, many clinicians lack familiarity with the subject beyond the more rudimentary concepts. Methods: This review provides an in-depth overview of the imaging of the post-operative spine, with particular emphasis on differentiating between pseudoarthrosis and arthrodesis. Results: A comprehensive overview of imaging of the post-operative spine is given, including the most common imaging modalities utilized, the expected post-operative findings, imaging findings in pseudoarthrosis, and imaging definitions of fusion. Conclusion: Differentiating between pseudoarthrosis and arthrodesis in the postoperative spine is complex, and requires a robust understanding of various findings across many different modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Fusion
  • Instrumentation
  • Pseudoarthrosis
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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