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Accelerated Degeneration of the Segment Adjacent to a Lumbar Fusion.

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Previously reported biomechanical studies on the effects of various types of spinal fusion procedures upon the adjacent segment indicate a significant degree of increased stress at that segment. This study presents 18 patients in whom new symptoms developed from the segment adjacent to a fusion after an average symptom-free interval of 8.5 years (1-38 years). The most common pathologic condition at the adjacent segment was hypertrophic degenerative arthritis of the facet joints. Spinal stenosis was found there in eight cases; severe disc degeneration in five; degenerative spondylolisthesis in two; and spondylolysis acquislta in one.

(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.