Surgical decompression is extremely effective in relieving pain and symptoms due to lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Decompression with interlaminar stabilization (D+ILS) is as effective as decompression with posterolateral fusion for stenosis, as shown in a major US FDA pivotal trial. This study reports a multicenter, randomized controlled trial in which D+ILS was compared with decompression alone (DA) for treatment of moderate to severe LSS.
Under approved institutional ethics review, 230 patients (1:1 ratio) randomized to either DA or D+ILS (coflex, Paradigm Spine) were treated at 7 sites in Germany. Patients had moderate to severe LSS at 1 or 2 adjacent segments from L-3 to L-5. Outcomes were evaluated up to 2 years postoperatively, including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, the presence of secondary surgery or lumbar injections, neurological status, and the presence of device- or procedure-related severe adverse events. The composite clinical success (CCS) was defined as combining all 4 of these outcomes, a success definition validated in a US FDA pivotal trial. Additional secondary end points included visual analog scale (VAS) scores, Zürich Claudication Questionnaire (ZCQ) scores, narcotic usage, walking tolerance, and radiographs.
The overall follow-up rate was 91% at 2 years. There were no significant differences in patient-reported outcomes at 24 months (p > 0.05). The CCS was superior for the D+ILS arm (p = 0.017). The risk of secondary intervention was 1.75 times higher among patients in the DA group than among those in the D+ILS group (p = 0.055). The DA arm had 228% more lumbar injections (4.5% for D+ILS vs 14.8% for DA; p = 0.0065) than the D+ILS one. Patients who underwent DA had a numerically higher rate of narcotic use at every time point postsurgically (16.7% for D+ILS vs 23% for DA at 24 months). Walking Distance Test results were statistically significantly different from baseline; the D+ILS group had > 2 times the improvement of the DA. The patients who underwent D+ILS had > 5 times the improvement from baseline compared with only 2 times the improvement from baseline for the DA group. Foraminal height and disc height were largely maintained in patients who underwent D+ILS, whereas patients treated with DA showed a significant decrease at 24 months postoperatively (p < 0.001).
This study showed no significant difference in the individual patient-reported outcomes (e.g., ODI, VAS, ZCQ) between the treatments when viewed in isolation. The CCS (survivorship, ODI success, absence of neurological deterioration or device- or procedure-related severe adverse events) is statistically superior for ILS. Microsurgical D+ILS increases walking distance, decreases compensatory pain management, and maintains radiographic foraminal height, extending the durability and sustainability of a decompression procedure.
Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01316211 (clinicaltrials.gov)