Systematic review with meta-analysis.
To (1) evaluate long-term patient-centered clinical outcomes after lumbar arthrodesis
with or without decompression for lumbar spondylosis
(LS); and (2) compare these outcomes with those of alternative treatments, including nonsurgical and surgical which maintain mobility of the lumbar spine.
Summary of Background Data:
The effective treatment of LS is a complex clinical and economic concern for patients and health care providers.
Selection criteria: (1) randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) comparing treatment effects of lumbar arthrodesis
with other interventions; (2) participants: skeletally mature adults with lumbar degenerative disk disease. Search methods: Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Library, and others. All years through February of 2013 were included. Patient-centered clinical outcomes before treatment, at 12, 24, or >24 months of follow-up, and rate of complications and additional surgical treatment were collected. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate pooled treatment effects. The GRADE approach was applied to evaluate the level of evidence.
The review included 38 studies of 5738 participants. All studies showed strong or at least moderate treatment effects of lumbar arthrodesis
at 12, 24, and 48–72 months of follow-up. The level of evidence was moderate at 12 and 24 months, and low at 48–72 months. The pooled long-term treatment effect of lumbar arthrodesis
exceeded those of: nonsurgical treatment (P
<0.0001) with a moderate level of evidence, and decompression without fusion (P
=0.005) with a low level of evidence. The treatment effect of lumbar arthrodesis
showed a small inferiority versus arthroplasty at 12 and 24 months of follow-up (P
<0.001), but not after 24 months postoperative.
This review indicates that surgical stabilization of the lumbar spine is an effective treatment for LS; in particular, for patients with severe chronic low back pain that has been resistant to ≥3 months of conservative therapy.