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A 10-Year Follow-up Evaluation of Lumbar Spine Fusion With Pedicle Screw Fixation

Glaser, John, MD*; Stanley, Mark, MD; Sayre, Hutha, RN*; Woody, Joyce*; Found, Ernest, MD*; Spratt, Kevin, PhD*

doi: 10.1097/01.BRS.0000067112.15753.AD
Clinical Case Series

Study Design. A retrospective cohort study was conducted.

Objective. To evaluate the long-term results of lumbar spine fusion supplemented with pedicle screw fixation.

Summary of Background Data. Pedicle screw fixation of the lumbar spine is widely used, yet there is little long-term follow-up information on the technique.

Methods. All adult patients treated at the University of Iowa Department of Orthopedic Surgery with lumbar pedicle screw fixation between March 10, 1986 and July 1, 1991 were reviewed. All the patients initially had answered a battery of questions regarding pain and disability and had radiographs performed. At follow-up evaluation, the same and other questions regarding their status were asked, and SF-36 was used. Radiographs were reviewed for evidence of hardware complications, fusion status, deformity, and extent of degeneration around the fusion.

Results. In this study, 234 patients underwent 236 pedicle screw fixation procedures. Indications for surgery were degeneration (n = 127), trauma/instability (n = 33), pseudarthrosis (n = 17), deformity (n = 16), tumor (n = 4), inflammatory process (n = 4), infection (n = 1), and unknown (n = 32). Variable screw placement (Acromed, Cleveland Ohio) fixation was used in all cases. Nonintegral locking nuts were used in 119 cases. Of the 234 patients, 31 had died, 5 had been eliminated because the chart review indicated that their reason for surgery was tumor or infection, and 92 were lost to follow-up evaluation for various reasons. Of the remaining 107 patients, 13 had incomplete data, leaving 94 patients with complete information. The SF-36 showed reports of bodily pain and physical functioning below age- and gender-adjusted means, but disability and function scores demonstratedsignificant improvement at the 10-year follow-up assessment. Patient-reported satisfaction was high, approximately 80%. Radiographically, at the 10-year follow-up assessment, 242 of 244 instrumented segments showed no motion, with approximately one third of these also showing evidence of definite fusion.

Conclusions. At a minimum follow-up evaluation of 10 years, lumbar fusion with pedicle screw fixation showed relatively good functional capacity, especially relative to the baseline, a low rate of radiographic failure, satisfaction of patients with their progress, a low rate of repeat surgery, and minimal surgical and hardware-related complications.

From the Departments of *Orthopaedic Surgery and

†Radiology, University of Iowa Hospital and Clinic, Iowa City, Iowa.

Supported by a grant from Depuy AcroMed Corporation, Raynham Massachusetts.

Acknowledgment date: September 20, 2002.

First revision date: December 3, 2002.

Second revision date:.

Acceptance date: December 9, 2002.

The devices and drugs are approved by the FDA or a corresponding national agency for this indication.

Conflict of interest category: 16.

Device status category: 11 (FDA approved)

Corporate and industry funds were received to support this work. Although one or more of the authors received or will receive benefits for personal or professional use from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript, the benefits will be directed solely to a research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other nonprofit organization with which the author or authors have been associated.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to John Glaser, MD, Department Orthopaedic Surgery, 96 Jonathan Lucas, Suite 708, Charleston, SC 29425; E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.