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Clinical Studies

1997 Volvo Award Winner in Clinical Studies: Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis With Spinal Stenosis: A Prospective, Randomized Study Comparing Decompressive Laminectomy and Arthrodesis With and Without Spinal Instrumentation

Fischgrund, Jeffrey S. MD*; Mackay, Michael MD*; Herkowitz, Harry N. MD*; Brower, Richard MD; Montgomery, David M. MD*; Kurz, Lawrence T. MD*

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Abstract

Study Design. This prospective study analyzed the influence of transpedicular instrumented on the operative treatment of patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis.

Objectives. To determine whether the addition of transpedicular instrumented improves the clinical outcome and fusion rate of patients undergoing posterolateral fusion after decompression for spinal stenosis with concomitant degenerative spondylolisthesis.

Summary of Background Data. Decompression is often necessary in the treatment of symptomatic patients who have degenerative spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis. Results of recent studies demonstrated that outcomes are significantly improved if posterolateral arthrodesis is performed at the listhesed level. A meta‐analysis of the literature concluded that adjunctive spinal instrumentation for this procedure can enhance the fusion rate, although the effect on clinical outcome remains uncertain.

Methods. Seventy‐six patients who had symptomatic spinal stenosis associated with degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis were prospectively studied. All patients underwent posterior decompression with concomitant posterolateral intertransverse process arthrodesis. The patients were randomized to a segmental transpedicular instrumented or noninstrumented group.

Results. Sixty‐seven patients were available for a 2‐year follow‐up. Clinical outcome was excellent or good in 76% of the patients in whom instrumentation was placed and in 85% of those in whom no instrumentation was placed (P = 0.45). Successful arthrodesis occurred in 82% of the instrumented cases versus 45% of the noninstrumented cases (P = 0.0015). Overall, successful fusion did not influence patient outcome (P = 0.435).

Conclusions. In patients undergoing single‐level posterolateral fusion for degenerative spondylolisthesis with spinal stenosis, the use of pedicle screws may lead to a higher fusion rate, but clinical outcome shows no improvement in pain in the back and lower limbs

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.

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