Spontaneous slip reduction of low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis following circumferential release via bilateral minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: technical note and short-term outcome

Jie Pan, Lijun Li, Lie Qian, Wei Zhou, Jun Tan, Le Zou, Mingjie Yang
Spine 2011 February 15, 36 (4): 283-9
STUDY DESIGN.: Retrospective clinical data analysis. OBJECTIVE.: To investigate and verify our philosophy of spontaneous slip reduction following circumferential release via bilateral minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (Mini-TLIF) for treatment of low-grade symptomatic isthmic spondylolisthesis. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA.: Symptomatic isthmic spondylolisthesis usually requires surgical intervention, and the most currently controversial focus is on method and degree of reduction; and Mini-TLIF is an attractive surgical procedure for isthmic spondylolisthesis. METHODS.: Between February 2004 and June 2008, 21 patients with low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis underwent Mini-TLIF in our institute. Total resection of the scar around the pars interarticularis liberated the nerve roots, achieving posterior release as well. The disc was thoroughly resected, and the disc space was gradually distracted and thoroughly released with sequential disc shavers until rupture of anulus conjunct with anterior longitudinal ligament, accomplishing anterior release, so as to insert Cages. Because of circumferential release, the slipped vertebrae would tend to obtain spontaneous reduction, and with pedicle screw fixation, additional reduction would be achieved without any application of posterior translation force. Radiographs, Visual Analogue Scale, and Oswestry Disability Index were documented. All the cases were followed up for 10 to 26 months. RESULTS.: Slip percentage was reduced from 24.2% ± 6.9% to 10.5% ± 4.0%, and foraminal area percentage increased from 89.1% ± 3.0% to 93.6% ± 2.1%. Visual Analogue Scale and Oswestry Disability Index decreased from 7.8 ± 1.5 to 2.1 ± 1.1 and from 53.3 ± 16.2 to 17.0 ± 7.8, respectively. No neurologic complications were encountered. There were no signs of instrumentation failure. The fusion rate approached 100%. CONCLUSION.: Slip reduction is based on circumferential release. The procedure can be well performed via Mini-TLIF, the outcome of which is equally gratifying to that of instrumented slip reduction and traditional midline approach. There is no need to fully reduce the slipped vertebrae. Circumferential release contributes to achieving spontaneous slip reduction partially, which aids sufficiently in the surgical treatment of low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis.

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