Comparison study of the instrumented circumferential fusion with instrumented anterior lumbar interbody fusion as a surgical procedure for adult low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis

Jin-Sung Kim, Dong-Hyun Kim, Sang-Ho Lee, Choon-Keun Park, Jang-Hoe Hwang, Gene Cheh, Young-Geun Choi, Byung-Uk Kang, Ho-Yeon Lee
World Neurosurgery 2010, 73 (5): 565-71

BACKGROUND: Instrumented circumferential fusion has been used as a primary and salvage procedure in lumbar spine fusion, especially for adult low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis. Recently, instrumented anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) has been shown to provide good clinical and radiologic results that are comparable with those attained with traditional lumbar fusion. However, there have been no reports available that compare instrumented circumferential fusion with instrumented ALIF.

METHODS: Between January 2003 and November 2004, a total of 43 consecutive patients underwent instrumented ALIF (group I) at one hospital of the authors. Between February 2003 and October 2006, a total of 32 consecutive patients underwent instrumented circumferential fusion (group II) at the other hospital of the authors. The authors retrospectively reviewed clinical and radiologic data from patients. The time spent on the operation, blood loss, blood transfusions, the length of hospital stay, complications, clinical results, and radiologic results, including disc height (DH), degree of listhesis, segmental lordosis (SL), and whole lumbar lordosis (WL), were analyzed and compared. Clinical outcomes were graded using visual analog scale (VAS) scores. Functional outcomes were measured using Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores and return-to-work status.

RESULTS: The mean follow-up period was 41.1 and 32.9 months in group I and group II, respectively. Radiologic evidence of fusion was noted in 42 of 43 patients in group I and in 32 of 32 patients in group II. In both groups, all of the radiologic data, including the DH, degree of listhesis, SL, and WL significantly changed from the preoperative to postoperative period except for WL in group II. In both groups, VAS scores for back and leg pain and ODI scores significantly changed from the preoperative to postoperative period. There was no significant difference for VAS scores for back ODI scores in the two treatment groups after surgery. The mean time until return to work was 3.7 months in group I and 3.6 months in group II (p < .05). The mean hospital stay for group I (7.4 days) was shorter than that for group II (15.2 days) (p < .05). The mean operation time in group I (190 minutes) was shorter than that in group II (260.8 minutes) (p < .05). The mean blood loss in group I (300 mL) was less than that in group II (379 mL) (p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: According to the present clinical outcome, instrumented ALIF is at least as effective as instrumented circumferential fusion for the treatment of back pain in adult patients with low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis. Moreover, in terms of operative data including the duration of operation and hospital stay, as well as blood loss, instrumented ALIF demonstrates better results.

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