Minimum 5-year results of degenerative spondylolisthesis treated with decompression and instrumented posterior fusion

Kevin C. Booth, Keith H. Bridwell, Bradley A. Eisenberg, Christy R. Baldus, Lawrence G. Lenke

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151 Scopus citations


Study Design. An analysis of consecutive cases of degenerative spondylolisthesis treated by one of two surgeons at a university hospital. Objectives. To assess at a minimum 5-year follow-up the complication rate, reoperation rate, radiographic results, and patient satisfaction with surgical treatment of lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis by means of segmental posterior instrumented fusion with decompression. Summary of Background Data. No reports of minimum 5-year follow-up for surgical treatment of degenerative spondylolisthesis were found in the literature. Methods. The potential study population consisted of 49 consecutive patients who had undergone no prior surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis (average age, 66.7 years; range, 52.2-78.7 years) with mean follow-up of 6.5 years (range, 5-10.75 years) who were treated with decompression, autogenous iliac crest bone grafting, intertransverse process fusion, and segmental (pedicle screw) instrumentation. Eight patients had died; the remaining 41 were included in the study sample. Thirty-six (88%) of the 41 patients returned an outcome questionnaire and had current radiographs. Results. There was one case of instrument failure (one broken screw with late fusion), and one superficial infection. There were no neurologic deficits, no pseudarthroses, no recurrent stenosis at the fused segment, and no progression of deformity at the fused level. Five patients had symptomatic adjacent level transition syndromes. There were seven additional currently asymptomatic radiographic transition syndromes. Segmental sagittal Cobb angles were maintained at the fused level (17.7 ± 8-18.8 ± 7°). Eighty- three percent reported satisfaction with the procedure, 86% thought their back and leg pain was still significantly better than before surgery, and 77% would have the procedure again if needed. Poor satisfaction (n = 4) was associated with more than four medical comorbidities (P < 0.03). A significant number (12 of 49, 24%) of patients had died or were ill more than 5 years after surgery. Conclusions. Radiographic transition syndromes were common. Major complications (2%), implant failures (2%), and symptomatic pseudarthroses (0%) were low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1721-1727
Number of pages7
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 1999


  • Decompression
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis
  • Instrumentation and fusion


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