Retrospective analysis of data from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP).
We sought to compare the short-term outcomes of laminectomy with/without fusion for single-level lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS).
Summary of Background Data.
Lumbar DS is a common cause of low back and radicular pain. Controversy remains over the safety and efficacy of fusion in addition to standard decompressive surgery.
Patients with lumbar DS who underwent laminectomy alone or laminectomy plus posterolateral fusion at a single level were identified from the 2012–2017 NSQIP database. Outcomes included 30-day mortality, major complication, reoperation, readmission, as well as operative duration, need for blood transfusion, length of stay (LOS), and discharge destination. Outcomes were compared between treatment groups by multivariable regression, adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidities (modified Frailty Index). Effect sizes were reported by adjusted odds ratio (aOR) or mean difference (aMD).
The study cohort consisted of 1804 patients; of these, 802 underwent laminectomy alone and 1002 laminectomy plus fusion. On both unadjusted and adjusted analyses, there was no difference in 30-day mortality, major complications, reoperation, or readmission. However, laminectomy plus fusion was associated with longer operative time (170.0 vs. 152.7 minutes; aMD 16.00 minutes, P < 0.001), longer hospital LOS (3.2 vs. 2.5 days; aMD 0.68, P < 0.001), more frequent need for intra- or postoperative blood transfusion (6.8% vs. 3.1%; aOR 2.24, P = 0.001), and less frequent discharge home (80.7% vs. 89.2%; aOR 0.46, P < 0.001).
We found single-level laminectomy plus fusion for lumbar DS to have a comparable short-term safety profile to laminectomy alone. However, fusion was associated with longer operative time and LOS, higher risk of blood transfusion, and greater need for inpatient rehabilitation. These factors should be recognized by clinicians and discussed with patients in the context of their values when weighing surgical treatment of lumbar DS.
Level of Evidence: 3