In this prospective study, our aim was to compare the clinical outcome of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and posterolateral fusion (PLF) in spondylolisthesis. A total of 138 patients with spondylolisthesis were randomly assigned to two groups: those operated on with pedicle screw fixation and posterior lumbar interbody fusion by autografting (PLIF), and those operated on with pedicle screw fixation and posterolateral fusion by autografting (PLF). The patients were followed-up for four years. Clinical evaluation was carried out using the Oswestry disability index (ODI) and pain index (VAS). Radiography was performed preoperatively and postoperatively to assess the fusion. Both surgical procedures were effective, but the PLF group showed more complications related to hardware biomechanics. There was no significant statistical difference in clinical and functional outcome in the two groups. The PLIF group presented a better fusion rate than the PLF group.
Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (DLSS) has become increasingly common and is characterized by multilevel disc herniation and lumbar spondylolisthesis, which are difficult to treat. The current study aimed to evaluate the short-term clinical outcomes and value of the combined use of microendoscopic discectomy (MED) and minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) for the treatment of multilevel DLSS with spondylolisthesis, and to compare the combination with traditional posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF). A total of 26 patients with multilevel DLSS and spondylolisthesis underwent combined MED and MI-TLIF surgery using a single cage and pedicle rod-screw system. These cases were compared with 27 patients who underwent traditional PLIF surgery during the same period. Data concerning incision length, surgery time, blood loss, time of bed rest and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score prior to and following surgery were analyzed statistically. Statistical significance was reached in terms of incision length, blood loss and the time of bed rest following surgery (P<0.05), but there was no significant difference between the surgery time and ODI scores of the two groups. The combined use of MED and MI-TLIF has the advantages of reduced blood loss, less damage to the paraspinal soft tissue, shorter length of incision, shorter bed rest time, improved outcomes and shorter recovery times and has similar short-term clinical outcomes to traditional PLIF.
microendoscopic discectomy; minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; posterior lumbar interbody fusion; lumbar spinal stenosis; lumbar spondylolisthesis
Clinical and radiological results of posterior dynamic stabilization using interspinous U (ISU, Coflex™, Paradigm Spine Inc.®, NY, USA) were analyzed in comparison with posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) in degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
A retrospective study was conducted for a consecutive series of 61 patients with degenerative LSS between May 2003 and December 2005. We included only the patients completed minimum 24 months follow up evaluation. Among them, 30 patients were treated with implantation of ISU after decompressive laminectomy (Group ISU) and 31 patients were treated with wide decompressive laminectomy and posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF; Group PLIF). We evaluated visual analogue scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for clinical outcomes (VAS, ODI), disc height ratio disc height (DH), disc height/vertebral body length ×100), static vertebral slip (VS) and depth of maximal radiolucent gap between ISU and spinous process) in preoperative, immediate postoperative and last follow up.
The mean age of group ISU (66.2 ± 6.7 years) was 6.2 years older than the mean age of group PLIF (60.4 ± 8.1 years; p = 0.003 ). In both groups, clinical measures improved significantly than preoperative values (p < 0.001). Operation time and blood loss was significantly shorter and lower in group ISU than group PLIF (p < 0.001). In group ISU, the DH increased transiently in immediate postoperative period (15.7 ± 4.5% → 18.6 ± 5.9%), however decreased significantly in last follow up (13.8 ± 6.6%, p = 0.027). Vertebral slip (VS) of spondylolisthesis in group ISU increased during postoperative follow-up (2.3 ± 3.3 → 8.7 ± 6.2, p = 0.040). Meanwhile, the postoperatively improved DH and VS was maintained in group PLIF in last follow up.
According to our result, implantation of ISU after decompressive laminectomy in degenerative LSS is less invasive and provides similar clinical outcome in comparison with the instrumented fusion. However, the device has only transient effect on the postoperative restoration of disc height and reduction of slip in spondylolisthesis. Therefore, in the biomechanical standpoint, it is hard to expect that use of Interspinous U in decompressive laminectomy for degenerative LSS had long term beneficial effect.
Degenerative spinal stenosis; Lumbar; Dynamic stabilization; Interspinous U; Coflex™; Posterior lumbar interbody fusion
This study is to compare the therapeutic effect of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with pedicle screw fixation on treatment in adult degenerative spondylolisthesis. A retrospective analysis of 187 patients to compare the complications and associated predictive factors of the two techniques of one level lumbar fusion. Ninety-one had PLIF with two cages and pedicle fixation (group 1), and ninety-six had TLIF with one cage and pedicle fixation (group 2). The two groups had similar age and sex distribution, and level of pain. Inclusion criteria and outcome measurements were identical in both groups. The two groups were operated on with autograft and cage with pedicle fixation. Before surgery and at the 2-year follow-up, pain (VAS) and functional disability (JOA) were quantified. The results showed there were no intraoperative deaths in our study. In the end 176 cases had 2-year follow-up while 11 cases were lost to follow-up. The follow-up rate was 93.4% (85/91) in the PLIF group and 94.8% (91/96) in the TLIF group. All patients had bone fusion, and there were no cases of cage extrusion. The pain index improved from 7.08 ± 1.13 to 2.84 ± 0.89 in PLIF patients and improved from 7.18 ± 1.09 to 2.84 ± 0.91 in TLIF patients (P < 0.001). There were 42 cases of excellent, 29 cases of good, 11 cases of general, and 3 cases of poor results in PLIF group. There were 46 cases of excellent, 31 case of good, 12 case of general, and 2 cases of poor results in TLIF group. The JOA score in all patients was 84.1% of good or excellent (83.5% in PLIF and 84.6% in TLIF, P > 0.05). The average preoperative slip was 30.1 ± 7.2% in PLIF group while in the TLIF it was 31.4 ± 8.3%. Immediately post operatively it was reduced to 7.3 ± 2.1% and 7.4 ± 2.7% and at last F/U it was 8.1 ± 2.8% and 8.2 ± 2.6%, respectively. The average of reduction rate was 75.2 ± 6.4% in PLIF and 75.4 ± 6.2 in TLIF on the initial post operatively X-ray, and 72.6 ± 5.2% and 72.4 ± 5.4% on the follow-up. The percentage rate, reduction rate and lost of reduction rate between the two groups was similar (P > 0.05). The average pre operative disk and foramen height in the PLIF group improved from 6.8 ± 2.3 and 14.2 ± 1.7 preoperatively to 11.6 ± 1.5 and 18.7 ± 1.8 post operatively, respectively. At last follow up there was minimal lost of correction down to 11.24 ± 1.2 and 18.1 ± 1.8, respectively. Similarly in the TLIF group, pre operative disk and foramen height were improved from 6.7 ± 1.7 and 14.1 ± 1.8 to 11.4 ± 1.6 and 18.5 ± 1.6 immediately post operative. At last follow up minimal lost of correction was noted with average disc height of 11.3 ± 1.4 and 18.2 ± 1.7. Both techniques achieve statistical significance in restoration of disc and foraminal (P < 0.01); however, there was no statistical difference between the two techniques. In conclusion, interbody fusion with either a PLIF technique or a TLIF technique provides good outcomes in the treatment of adult degenerative spondylolisthesis. The TLIF procedure is simpler and is as safe and effective as the PLIF technique.
Spondyolisthesis; Interverterbral fusion; Internal fixation
The technique of posterior lumbar interbody fusion allows decompression of the spinal canal and interbody fusion through one posterior incision. A number of techniques exist to achieve additional posterior stability. The literature reports wide variation in outcomes for these different techniques. We assessed retrospectively the clinical and radiological outcome of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) supplemented with an instrumented postero-lateral fusion (IPLF) using a pedicle screw system. Between July 1987 and April 1997, 60 patients underwent PLIF + IPLF. Clinical outcome was measured with physical examination in the outpatient setting and a patient questionnaire (patient satisfaction, analgesic use, return to work, Oswestry Disability Index). Radiological outcome was assessed with serial radiographs. If doubt existed regarding fixation, flexion/extension radiographs and plain tomograms were performed. The mean age was 44 years (range 19–69 years). The average follow-up was 5.3 years (range 1–10 years). Eighty percent of patients returned sufficiently completed questionnaires; 83% of these patients rated their outcome as good or excellent. Fifty percent of patients were able to return to full-time employment. All patients showed radiographic evidence of stable fixation. Four patients sustained a neurological complication, three of which resolved completely. The combination of PLIF with IPLF demonstrates clinical success, a stable circumferential fixation and a low complication rate.
Key words Posterior lumbar ¶interbody fusion; Instrumented ¶postero-lateral fusion; Surgical ¶technique; Clinical outcome; Radiological outcome
This is a retrospective case series to evaluate clinical variables, complications and outcome of 50 patients who underwent anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) supplemented with posterior percutaneous pedicle screw fixation for degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine. Twenty-four patients underwent single-level fusion and 26 patients had a two-level fusion for a total of 76 levels fused. The mean lengths of the anterior and posterior (including repositioning) portions of the procedure were 131 and 102 min, respectively. The mean estimated blood loss for the entire procedure was 288 ml. The overall adverse event rate was 12%. The mean VAS score for leg pain, VAS score for back pain and mean ODI all improved postoperatively. This study found that ALIF using allograft bone and rhBMP-2 combined with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation had a high fusion rate and a low incidence of perioperative complications. Patient outcomes showed significant improvements in back and leg pain and physical functioning.
Lumbar arthrodesis; Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF); Percutaneous pedicle screw fixation
The authors hypothesized that the placement of the interspinous implant would show a similar clinical outcome to the posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) in patients having spinal stenosis with mild segmental instability and that this method would be superior to PLIF without significantly affecting degeneration at the adjacent segments. Forty two adult patients having degenerative spinal stenosis with mild segmental instabilit who underwent implantation of Coflex™ (Spine motion, Germany) or PLIF at L4-5 between January 2000 and December 2003 were consecutively selected and studied for one-year clinical outcome. At 12 months after surgery, both groups showed a significant improvement in the visual analogue scale score and Oswestry disability index score for both lower extremity pain and low back pain. However, the range of motion at the upper adjacent segments (L3-4) increased significantly after surgery in the PLIF group, which was not manifested in the Coflex™ group during the follow-up. The authors assumed that interspinous implantation can be an alternative treatment for the spinal stenosis with segmental instability in selected conditions posing less stress on the superior adjacent level than PLIF.
Spinal Stenosis; Outcome
Segmental pedicle screw fixation is rapidly becoming a popular method of spinal instrumentation. Few studies have investigated the rates of adjacent superior segment facet joint violation. The purpose of our study were to investigate the incidence of superior segment facet joint violation after pedicle screw instrumentation in the lumbar spine and to evaluate technical factors related to the incidence. A prospective study including 96 patients who underwent lumbar and lumbosacral fusion was conducted between March 2006 and December 2007. All patients had bilateral or unilateral posterior pedicle screw-rod instrumentation with either CD-Horizon (top-loading screw) or TSRH (side-connecting screw) implants. Pedicle screws were instrumented according to the methods advocated by Roy-Camille (Group 1, 20 cases) or Weinstein (Group 2, 76 cases). All patients had computed tomography scan at 1 week post operation. CT scans were reviewed blind by an experienced spine research fellow and a consultant radiologist to determine violation of the adjacent superior segment facet joint. Superior segment facet joint violation occurred in all of the 20 patients (100%) and all of the top-level screws (100%) in Group 1. The spinal research fellow noted the incidence of facet joint violation to be present in 23.8% of the screws and 32.9% of the patients in Group 2, whereas the consultant radiologist noted this to be the case in 25.2 and 35.5%, respectively. The incidence of facet joint violation in patients with CD-Horizon screws was far lower than patients with TSRH screws (P < 0.001). In conclusion, it seems that meticulous surgical dissection without injuring the top-level facet joints, proper instrumentation of pedicle screws with the appropriate entry site (Weinstein’s method), trajectory, and use of top-loading screw heads are some ways that surgeons could minimize the risk of top-level facet joint violation.
Pedicle screws; Facet joint violation; Lumbar spine
Translaminar screw fixation of the lumbar spine represents a simple and effective technique for short segment fusion in the degenerative spine. Clinical experience with 173 patients who underwent translaminar screw fixation revealed a fusion rate of 94%. The indications for translaminar screw fixation as a primary fixation procedure are: segmental dysfunction, lumbar spinal stenosis with painful degenerative changes, segmental revision surgery after discectomies, and painful disc-related syndromes such as internal disc disruption and lumbar disc herniation with concomitant degenerative changes. As an additional stabilization procedure, translaminar screws can be used to augment anterior fusion or reinforce pedicle systems. Translaminar screw fixation achieves as high fusion rate provided the biomechanical principles of the lumbar spine with an intact anterior column are respected and a meticulous operative technique is employed to enhance bony ingrowth of the graft.
Key words Translaminar screw; fixation; Lumbar spine; Posterior; fusion; Indications
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Clinical question or objective: Is there a benefit to additional transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) if a solid posterolateral (PL) fusion can be achieved with routine bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) use in low-grade spondylolisthesis?
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients who had undergone surgery for grade I or II lumbar spondylolisthesis stratified into two groups. Group 1 had 46 patients who underwent TLIF along with PL instrumented fusion. Group 2 had 40 patients who underwent PL instrumented fusion alone. In both groups, adequate posterior decompression with pedicle screw instrumentation was performed and rhBMP-7 was used. All patients were evaluated clinically using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and by independent radiological examination at 3 and 12 months.
Results: At a minimum follow-up of 12 months, there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of fusion. In addition, there were no differences in the proportion of patients who had a minimal clinically significant difference in their ODI. There was a similar rate of complications between each cohort.
Conclusions: The use of BMP was associated with a high rate of PL lumbar fusion. In the presence of a PL fusion, there appears to be little clinical benefit to additional anterior TLIF in degenerative spondylolisthesis.
Percutaneous techniques may be helpful to reduce approach-related morbidity of conventional open surgery. The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of mini-open posterior lumbar interbody fusion for instabilities and degenerative disc diseases. From May 2005 until October 2008, 20 patients affected by monosegmental instability and disc herniation underwent mini-open lumbar interbody fusion combined with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation of the lumbar spine. Clinical outcome was assessed using the Visual Analog Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form Health Survey-36. The mean follow-up was 24 months. The mean estimated blood loss was 126 ml; the mean length of stay was 5.3 days; the mean operative time was 171 min. At 24-month follow-up, the mean VAS score was 2.1, mean ODI was 27.1%, and mean SF-36 was 85.2%. 80 screws were implanted in 20 patients. 74 screws showed very good position, 5 screws acceptable, and 1 screw unacceptable. A solid fusion was achieved in 17 patients (85%). In our opinion, mini-open TLIF is a valid and safe treatment of lumbar instability and degenerative disc diseases in order to obtain faster return to daily activities.
Percutaneous pedicle screw; Minimally invasive fusion; Disc herniation
Both the paraspinal muscle sparing approach and percutaneous screw fixation are less traumatic procedures in comparison with the conventional midline approach. These techniques have been used with the goal of reducing muscle injury. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and to compare the safety and efficacy of the paraspinal muscle sparing technique and percutaneous screw fixation for the treatment of L5-S1 spondylolisthesis.
Twenty patients who had undergone posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) at the L5-S1 segment for spondylolisthesis were prospectively studied. They were divided into two groups by screw fixation technique (Group I : paraspinal muscle sparing approach and Group II: percutaneous screw fixation). Clinical outcomes were assessed by Low Back Outcome Score (LBOS) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for back and leg pain at different times after surgery. In addition, modified MacNab's grading criteria were used to assess subjective patients' outcomes 6 months after surgery. Postoperative midline surgical scarring, intraoperative blood loss, mean operation time, and procedure-related complications were analyzed.
Excellent or good results were observed in all patients in both groups 6 months after surgery. Patients in both groups showed marked improvement in terms of LBOSs all over time intervals. Postoperative midline surgical scarring and intraoperative blood loss were lower in Group II compared to Group I although these differences were not statistically significant. Low back pain (LBP) and leg pain in both groups also showed significant improvement when compared to preoperative scores. However, at 7 days and 1 month after surgery, patients in Group II had significantly better LBP scores compared to Group I.
In terms of LBP during the early postoperative period, patients who underwent percutaneous screw fixation showed better results compared to ones who underwent screw fixation via the paraspinal muscle sparing approach. Our results indicate that the percutaneous screw fixation procedure is the preferable minimally invasive technique for reducing LBP associated with L5-S1 spondylolisthesis.
Spondylolisthesis; Paraspinal muscle sparing approach; Percutaneous screw fixation; Back pain
Interspinous spacers were developed to treat local deformities such as degenerative spondylolisthesis. To treat patients with chronic instability, posterior pedicle fixation and rod-based dynamic stabilization systems were developed as alternatives to fusion surgeries. Dynamic stabilization is the future of spinal surgery, and in the near future, we will be able to see the development of new devices and surgical techniques to stabilize the spine. It is important to follow the development of these technologies and to gain experience using them. In this paper, we review the literature and discuss the dynamic systems, both past and present, used in the market to treat lumbar degeneration.
Fusion of lumbar spine segments is a well-established therapy for many pathologies. The procedure changes the biomechanics of the spine. Initial clinical benefits may be outweighed by ensuing damage to the adjacent segments. Various surgical devices and techniques have been developed to prevent this deterioration. "Topping off" systems combine rigid fusion with a flexible pedicle screw system to prevent adjacent segment disease (ASD). To date, there is no convincing evidence that these devices provide any patient benefits.
The study is designed as a randomized, therapy-controlled trial in a clinical care setting at a university hospital. Patients presenting to the outpatient clinic with degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis will be assessed against study inclusion and exclusion criteria. After randomization, the control group will undergo conventional fusion. The intervention group will undergo fusion with a supplemental flexible pedicle screw system to protect the adjacent segment ("topping off").
Follow-up examination will take place immediately after treatment during hospital stay, after 6 weeks, and then after 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. Subsequently, ongoing assessments will be performed annually.
Outcome measurements will include quality of life and pain assessments using questionnaires (SF-36™, ODI, COMI). In addition, clinical and radiologic ASD, work-related disability, and duration of work disability will be assessed. Inpatient and 6-month mortality, surgery-related data (e.g., intraoperative complications, blood loss, length of incision, surgical duration), postoperative complications, adverse events, and serious adverse events will be documented and monitored throughout the study. Cost-effectiveness analysis will also be provided.
New hybrid systems might improve the outcome of lumbar spine fusion. To date, there is no convincing published data on effectiveness or safety of these topping off systems. High quality data is required to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of topping off devices. If only because these devices are quite expensive compared to conventional fusion implants, nonessential use should be avoided. In fact, these high costs necessitate efforts by health care providers to evaluate the effects of these implants. Randomized clinical trials are highly recommended to evaluate the benefits or harm to the patient.
Today, posterior stabilization of the cervical spine is most frequently performed by lateral mass screws or spinous process wiring. These techniques do not always provide sufficient stability, and anterior fusion procedures are added secondarily. Recently, transpedicular screw fixation of the cervical spine has been introduced to provide a one-stage stable posterior fixation. The aim of the present prospective study is to examine if cervical pedicle screw fixation can be done by low risk and to identify potential risk factors associated with this technique. All patients stabilized by cervical transpedicular screw fixation between 1999 and 2002 were included. Cervical disorders included multisegmental degenerative instability with cervical myelopathy in 16 patients, segmental instability caused by rheumatoid arthritis in three, trauma in five and instability caused by infection in two patients. In most cases additional decompression of the spinal cord and bone graft placement were performed. Pre-operative and post-operative CT-scans (2-mm cuts) and plain X-rays served to determine changes in alignment and the position of the screws. Clinical outcome was assessed in all cases. Ninety-four cervical pedicle screws were implanted in 26 patients, most frequently at the C3 (26 screws) and C4 levels (19 screws). Radiologically 66 screws (70%) were placed correctly (maximal breach 1 mm) whereas 20 screws (21%) were misplaced with reduction of mechanical strength, slight narrowing of the vertebral artery canal (<25%) or the lateral recess without compression of neural structures. However, these misplacements were asymptomatic in all cases. Another eight screws (9%) had a critical breach. Four of them showed a narrowing of the vertebral artery canal of more then 25%, in all cases without vascular problems. Three screws passed through the intervertebral foramen, causing temporary paresis in one case and a new sensory loss in another. In the latter patient revision surgery was performed. The screw was loosened and had to be corrected. The only statistically significant risk factor was the level of surgery: all critical breaches were seen from C3 to C5. Percutaneous application of the screws reduced the risk for misplacement, although this finding was not statistically significant. There was also a remarkable learning curve. Instrumentation with cervical transpedicular screws results in very stable fixation. However, with the use of new techniques like percutaneous screw application or computerized image guidance there remains a risk for damaging nerve roots or the vertebral artery. This technique should be reserved for highly selected patients with clear indications and to highly experienced spine surgeons.
Cervical spine; Pedicle screw fixation; Complication; Posterior fusion
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) using threaded cages has gained wide popularity for lumbosacral spinal disease. Our biomechanical tests showed that PLIF using a single diagonal cage with unilateral facetectomy does add a little to spinal stability and provides equal or even higher postoperative stability than PLIF using two posterior cages with bilateral facetectomy. Studies also demonstrated that cages placed using a posterior approach did not cause the same increase in spinal stiffness seen with pedicle screw instrumentation, and we concluded that cages should not be used posteriorly without other forms of fixation. On the other hand, placement of two cages using a posterior approach does have the disadvantage of risk to the bilateral nerve roots. We therefore performed a prospective study to determine whether PLIF can be accomplished by utilizing a single diagonal fusion cage with the application of supplemental transpedicular screw/rod instrumentation. Twenty-seven patients underwent a PLIF using one single fusion cage (BAK, Sulzer Spine-Tech, Minneapolis, MN, USA) inserted posterolaterally and oriented anteromedially on the symptomatic side with unilateral facetectomy and at the same level supplemental fixation with a transpedicular screw/rod system. The internal fixation systems included 12 SOCON spinal systems (Aesculap AG, Germany) and 15 TSRH spinal systems (Medtronic Sofamor Danek, USA). The inclusion criteria were grade 1 to 2 lumbar isthmic spondylolisthesis, lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis, and recurrent lumbar disc herniations with instability. Patients had at least 1 year of low back pain and/or unilateral sciatica and a severely restricted functional ability in individuals aged 28–55 years. Patients with more than grade 2 spondylolisthesis or adjacent-level degeneration were excluded from the study. Patients were clinically assessed prior to surgery by an independent assessor; they were then reassessed at 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months postoperatively by the same assessor and put into four categories: excellent, good, fair, and poor. Operative time, blood loss, hospital expense, and complications were also recorded. All patients achieved successful radiographic fusion at 2 years, and this was achieved at 1 year in 25 out of 27 patients. At 2 years, clinical results were excellent in 15patients, good in 10, fair in 1, and poor in 1. Regarding complications, one patient had a postoperative motor and sensory deficit of the nerve root. Reoperation was required in one patient due to migration of pedicle screws. No implant fractures or deformities occurred in any of the patients. PLIF using diagonal insertion of a single threaded cage with supplemental transpedicular screw/rod instrumentation enables sufficient decompression and solid interbody fusion to be achieved with minimal invasion of the posterior spinal elements. It is a clinically safer, easier, and more economical means of accomplishing PLIF.
Lumbar Fusion cage Implant Transpedicular screw Interbody
Transpedicular screws are commonly and successfully used for posterior fixation in spinal instability, but their insertion remains challenging. Even using navigation techniques, there is a misplacement rate of up to 11%. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of a novel pedicle screw system.
Thoracic and lumbar fusions were performed on 67 consecutive patients for tumor, trauma, degenerative disease or infection. A total of 326 pedicular screws were placed using a novel wire-guided, cannulated, polyaxial screw system (XIA Precision®, Stryker). The accuracy of placement was assessed postoperatively by CT scan, and the patients were followed-up clinically for a mean of 16 months.
The total medio-caudal pedicle wall perforation rate was 9.2% (30/326). In 19 of these 30 cases a cortical breakthrough of less than 2 mm occurred. The misplacement rate (defined as a perforation of 2 mm or more) was 3.37% (11/326). Three of these 11 screws needed surgical revision due to neurological symptoms or CSF leakage. There have been no screw breakages or dislocations over the follow up-period.
We conclude that the use of this cannulated screw system for the placement of pedicle screws in the thoracic and lumbar spine is accurate and safe. The advantages of this technique include easy handling without a time-consuming set up. Considering the incidence of long-term screw breakage, further investigation with a longer follow-up period is necessary.
spinal instrumentation; pedicle screws; misplacement; pedicle wall perforation
A retrospective preliminary study was undertaken of combined minimally invasive instrumented lumbar fusion utilizing the BERG (balloon-assisted endoscopic retroperitoneal gasless) approach ¶anteriorly, and a posterior small-incision approach with translaminar screw fixation and posterolateral ¶fusion. The study aimed to quantify the clinical and radiological results using this combined technique. The traditional minimally invasive approach to the anterior lumbar spine involves gas insufflation and provides reliable access only to L5-S1 and in some cases L4-5. A gas-mediated approach yields many technical drawbacks to performing spinal surgery. A minimally invasive posterior approach involving suprafascial pedicle screw instrumentation has been developed, but without widespread use. Translaminar facet fixation may be a viable alternative to transpedicular fixation in a 360° instrumented fusion model. Past studies have shown open 360° instrumented lumbar fusion yields high arthrodesis rates. The study examined the cases of 46 patients who underwent successful 360° instrumented lumbar fusion using a combined minimally invasive approach. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) at one or two levels was performed through the BERG approach; a gasless retroperitoneal approach to the lumbar spine allowing the use ¶of standard anterior instrumentation. Posteriorly, all patients underwent successful decompression, translaminar fixation, and posterolateral fusion at one or two levels through ¶one small (2.5–5.0 cm) incision. Results showed mean hospital stay of 2.02 days; mean combined blood loss was 255 cc; and mean pain relief was 56%, with 75.5% of patients reporting good, excellent, or total pain relief. Forty-two of 46 patients (93.2%) achieved a solid fusion ¶24 months after surgery. A total of 47% of all patients working prior to surgery returned to work following surgery. The study showed that minimally invasive 360° instrumented lumbar fusion, when performed utilizing these approaches, yields a high rate of solid arthrodesis (93.3%), good pain relief, short hospital stays, low blood losses, accelerated rehabilitation, and a quick return to the workforce. The BERG approach offers technical advantages over the traditional gas-mediated laparoscopic approach to the anterior lumbar spine.
Key words Minimally Invasive; 360° lumbar fusion; Combined ¶anteroposterior; Gasless endoscopy; Translaminar fixation
Adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) is discussed to impair long-term outcome after lumbar interbody fusion. Nevertheless the amount and origin of degeneration and its clinical relevance remain unclear. Only little data is published studying quantitative disc height reduction (DHR) as indicator for ASD in long-term follow-up. Forty patients (23 men, 17 women) (group 1: degenerative disc disease, n = 27; group 2: lytic spondylolisthesis, n = 13) underwent lumbar 360° instrumentation and fusion between 1991 and 1997. Preoperative and follow-up lateral lumbar radiographs were studied. Disc heights of first and second cephalad adjacent segments were measured by Farfan’s technique and Hurxthal’s technique modified by Pope. Clinical outcome was studied using Oswestry disability index (ODI) and visual analogue scale (VAS). Age, gender, prior surgery, fusion rate and number of fusion levels were investigated as potential factors affecting the outcome. Mean follow-up was 114 (72–161) months. Clinical outcome showed an improvement of 44.6% in ODI and 43.8% in VAS with a tendency towards better results in group 2. Fusion rate was 95%. Disc height of the first cephalad adjacent segment in all patients was reduced by on average 21% (Farfan, P < 0.001) and 19% (Pope, P < 0.001), respectively, and that of the second adjacent level by on average 16% (Farfan, P < 0.001) and 14% (Pope, P < 0.001), respectively. A tendency towards more disc height reduction (DHR) in the degenerative group was observed. Advanced age correlated with advanced DHR (P ≤ 0.003, r = 0.5). Multiple level fusion led to a more pronounced DHR than 1-level fusion (P = 0.028). There was a tendency towards more DHR in the first adjacent disc compared to the second. Gender, prior surgery of the fused segment and fusion level did not affect the amount of DHR. There was no correlation between the clinical outcome and DHR. Lumbar fusion is associated with DHR of adjacent discs. This may be induced by additional biomechanical stress, ongoing degeneration affecting the lumbar spine and advancing age. However, clinical outcome is not correlated with adjacent DHR.
Adjacent segment; Lumbar fusion; Disc height; Clinical outcome; Disc degeneration
Interspinous fusion devices (IFDs) are increasingly offered to patients over the age of 50 with lumbar spinal stenosis and intermittent neurogenic claudication. Here, we review the literature on complication rates, reoperation rates, and outcomes for implanting IFD, and offer an assessment of IFD charges at a single institution in 2010.
The literature concerning IFD implants was reviewed with particular attention focused on complications, reoperation rates, and outcomes. Additionally, the costs of implanting 31 IFD devices in 16 patients at one to three levels at a single institution in 2010 are presented.
Reviewing the spinal literature concerning the postoperative status of IFD followed over an average of 23–42.9 postoperative months revealed that IFD resulted in 11.6–38% complication rate, 4.6–85% reoperation rate, and 66.7–77% frequency of poor outcomes. Additionally, the 31 devices implanted in 16 patients at a single university hospital in 2010 cost a total of $576,407.
With high maximal complication rates (38%), reoperation rates (85%), poor outcomes (77%), and high costs ($576,407 for 31 devices in 16 patients), the utilization and implantation of IFD remains extremely controversial and should be investigated further.
Complications; high costs; interspinous fusion devices; lumbar stenosis; poor outcomes; reoperations
This is a retrospective study.
To evaluate the advantages and effects of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) using allograft and posterior instrumentation in the lumbar pyogenic discitis, which are resistant to antibiotics.
Overview of Literature
To present preliminary results of PLIF using a compressive bone graft with allograft and pedicle screw fixation in the lumbar pyogenic discitis.
Fifteen patients who had lumbar pyogenic discitis were treated by posterior approach from May 2004 to July 2008. The mean follow-up duration was 27.2 ± 18.68 months. The standing radiographs of the lumbar spine and clinical results were compared and analyzed in order to assess the bony union, the changes in the distance between the two vertebral bodies and the changes in the lordotic angle formed between the fused bodies immediately after surgery and at the final follow-up.
Fifteen solid unions at an average of 15.2 ± 3.5 weeks after operation. The mean preoperative lordotic angle of the affected segments was 14.3 ± 15.1°, compared to 20.3 ± 12.3° after surgery and 19.8 ± 15.2° at last follow-up. For the functional result according to the Kirkaldy-Willis criteria, the outcome was excellent in 9, good in 5, fair in 1, and there were no poor cases. The average visual analogue scale score was decreased from 7.4 before surgery to 3.4 at 2 weeks postoperative.
The main advantage in the procedure of PLIF using compressive bone graft with allograft and post instrumentation is early ambulation. We believe that this is another good procedure for patients with poor general condition because a further autograft bone harvest is not required.
Lumbar spine; Discitis; Posterior lumbar interbody fusion; Homologous transplantation
The bone–screw interface has been indicated as the weak link in pedicle screw spine fixation. Bisphosphonate treatment may have the effect of improving bone–screw interface fixation in spine fusion by inhibiting bone resorption. An experimental study was conducted using a porcine model to evaluate the influence of alendronate treatment on bone–pedicle screw interface fixation. Eleven pigs in the treatment group received alendronate 10 mg/day orally for three months postoperatively. The other 11 pigs served as a control group. Posterior lateral fusion with the CD Horizon pedicle screw system was performed with autograft on the lumbar spine on all animals. Biomechanical torsion test and histomorphometric parameters of screw fixation were evaluated three months after the operation. The maximum torque and initial angular stiffness of the treatment group was higher than that of the control group, but there was no statistical significance. The bone–screw contact surface was 23.3 ± 10% for the treatment group and 9.8 ± 5.9% for the control group (P < 0.01). This study indicated that alendronate treatment increased bone purchase of stainless steel screw surfaces.
In posterior lumbar interbody
vertebral fusion operations, variously sized, rectangular
shaped, defatted, freeze-dried, gas-sterilised cortical bone
allografts were used in combination with cancellous bone
autografts from excised posterior elements. Single-level fusion,
with or without internal fixation, was undertaken in 38 patients
aged 50 years or less with disc herniation or a failed
discectomy (the younger group) and in 33 women aged 60 years or
more with degenerative spondylolisthesis (the older group). Of
the various observable indicators of union, changes in the
allograft-host interface alone proved to be of practical use.
The incidence of nonunion in patients managed with pedicle
screws, with a hook and rod system or without internal fixation
was 0 of 8 patients; 1 of 14 patients; and 3 of 16 patients,
respectively, in the younger group, and 0 of 11 patients; 0 of 8
patients; and 2 of 14 patients, respectively, in the older
group. Of the six patients with nonunion, three had persistent
low back pain and only two had mobility of the fused segment
which was evident on lateral radiographs during flexion and
extension. No patient had graft collapse. The decrease in the
height of the intervertebral space, chiefly due to settlement of
the allograft into the vertebral bodies, in the younger and
older groups averaged 1.1 and 1.6 mm, respectively. We concluded
that this simplified technique is mechanically sound and
effective in maintaining the height of the intervertebral space.
Even when the graft failed to unite, fibrous union could be
obtained without graft collapse. Combination with a simple
internal fixator, such as a compression rod, facilitates bone
Lumbar spinal fusion is a commonly performed surgical procedure, yet both the indications for its performance and its results remain controversial. It is generally believed that apart from situations where obvious measurable instability exists, a repeat surgical procedure such as spinal fusion does not improve the functional outcome in more than an average of 50% of cases. The aim of this study was to analyse functional outcome after posterolateral lumbar or lumbosacral spinal fusion, comparing primary and salvage procedures. It was designed as a prospective case/referent study with a 2-year follow-up. A total of 39 patients underwent a short posterior fusion with Cotrel-Dubousset (CD) pedicle screw fixation after earlier surgery of the lumbar spine. Two patients were erroneously omitted from the study at the index, so 37 patients were included in the salvage group. In the same period, 69 patients underwent lumbar fusion with pedicle screw fixation (CD) as primary surgery (referent group). Functional outcome was assessed by means of the Dallas Pain Questionnaire preoperatively and 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Fusion rates were determined by ordinary X-ray evaluation by two independent observers. Patients who had undergone previous spinal surgery had a significant improvement in functional outcome in terms of daily activity, work and leisure-time activities and anxiety/depression. With regard to social functioning, a significantly inferior outcome was found after the salvage procedure. The return-to-work rates at 2 years after surgery were 50% in the salvage group and 53% in the referent group. There was a significant correlation between radiological evaluation of the fusion mass and the functional outcome. The fusion rate was 76% in the salvage group and 72% in the referent group. This study demonstrates that a posterolateral spinal fusion can be effectively used as a salvage procedure. The functional and radiological outcome of the patients with revision surgery did not differ from those of the group of patients who underwent primary surgery. There was, however a clear indication of inferior social functioning after revision surgery.
Key words Lumbar fusion; Pedicle; screw; Reoperation; Functional; outcome; Dallas Pain; Questionnaire; Revision surgery
In order to minimize perioperative invasiveness and improve the patients’ functional capacity of daily living, we have performed minimally invasive lumbar decompression and posterolateral fusion (MIS-PLF) with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation for degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis. Although several minimally invasive fusion procedures have been reported, no study has yet demonstrated the efficacy of MIS-PLF in degenerative spondylolisthesis of the lumbar spine. This study prospectively compared the mid-term clinical outcome of MIS-PLF with those of conventional PLF (open-PLF) focusing on perioperative invasiveness and patients’ functional capacity of daily living.
Materials and methods
A total of 80 patients received single-level PLF for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis. There were 43 cases of MIS-PLF and 37 cases of open-PLF. The surgical technique of MIS-PLF included making a main incision (4 cm), and neural decompression followed by percutaneous pedicle screwing and rod insertion. The posterolateral gutter including the medial transverse process was decorticated and iliac bone graft was performed. The parameters analyzed up to a 2-year period included the operation time, intra and postoperative blood loss, Oswestry-Disability Index (ODI), Roland-Morris Questionnaire (RMQ), the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score, and the visual analogue scale of low back pain. The fusion rate and complications were also reviewed.
The average operation time was statistically equivalent between the two groups. The intraoperative blood loss was significantly less in the MIS-PLF group (181 ml) when compared to the open-PLF group (453 ml). The postoperative bleeding on day 1 was also less in the MIS-PLF group (210 ml) when compared to the open-PLF group (406 ml). The ODI and RMQ scores rapidly decreased during the initial postoperative 2 weeks in the MIS-PLF group, and consistently maintained lower values than those in the open-PLF group at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. The fusion rate was statistically equivalent between the two groups (98 vs. 100%), and no major complications occurred.
The MIS-PLF utilizing a percutaneous pedicle screw system is less invasive compared to conventional open-PLF. The reduction in postoperative pain led to an increase in activity of daily living (ADL), demonstrating rapid improvement of several functional parameters. This superiority in the MIS-PLF group was maintained until 2 years postoperatively, suggesting that less invasive PLF offers better mid-term results in terms of reducing low back pain and improving patients’ functional capacity of daily living. The MIS-PLF utilizing percutaneous pedicle screw fixation serves as an alternative technique, eliminating the need for conventional open approach.
Minimally invasive spine surgery; Posterolateral fusion; Percutaneous pedicle screw; Degenerative spondylolisthesis; Lumbar spine