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Preoperative Adjacent Facet Joint Osteoarthritis Is Associated with the Incidence of Adjacent Segment Degeneration and Low Back Pain after Lumbar Interbody Fusion.

Asian Spine Journal 2024 Februrary 22
STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study.

PURPOSE: To analyze the association between preoperative adjacent facet joint osteoarthritis (FJOA) and outcomes of lumbar interbody fusion (LIF).

OVERVIEW OF LITERATURE: Whether preoperative adjacent FJOA is associated with the incidence of radiological adjacent segment degeneration (RASD) and low back pain (LBP) relief after lumbar fusion remains unknown.

METHODS: The study included patients who underwent LIF. The demographic characteristics and radiographic and surgical data were collected and evaluated. The included patients were divided into control group and FJOA group based on the preoperative adjacent facet joint Pathria grade. Preoperative and last follow-up LBP Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score, leg pain (LP) VAS, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and RASD were evaluated and compared. The improvement rates in VAS and ODI were calculated and compared between the two groups. Logistic regression was used to analyze the risk factors of LBP relief and incidence of RASD.

RESULTS: In total, 197 patients (control group, 86; FJOA group, 111) were included, and the median follow-up was 46 months. The VAS and ODI in both groups significantly improved after surgery. At the last follow-up, the FJOA group had higher VAS and lower VAS improvement rates of LBP than the control group (p<0.05). However, no significant difference in the LP VAS and ODI was found between the two groups. The incidence of RASD in the FJOA group was significantly higher than that in the control group (48.6% vs. 30.2%, p=0.034). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that preoperative adjacent FJOA was significantly associated with LBP relief (odds ratio [OR], 0.691; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.498-0.958) and the postoperative incidence of RASD (OR, 1.406; 95% CI, 1.020-1.939).

CONCLUSIONS: The preoperative FJOA in the adjacent segments was significantly associated with LBP following LIF. Patients with preoperative FJOA were more likely to have RASD following lumbar fusion surgery.

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