The pedicle screw–based Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) has reportedly become a surgical option for lumbar spondylosis and spondylolisthesis. However, it is still unclear whether the dynamic construct remains mobile or eventually fuses. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of unintended facet arthrodesis after DDS and its association with spondylolisthesis.
This retrospective study was designed to review 105 consecutive patients with 1- or 2-level lumbar spondylosis who were treated with DDS surgery. The patients were then divided into 2 groups according to preexisting spondylolisthesis or not. All patients underwent laminectomies, foraminotomies, and DDS. The clinical outcomes were measured using visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain, Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores. All medical records, including pre- and postoperative radiographs, CT scans, and MR images, were also reviewed and compared.
A total of 96 patients who completed the postoperative follow-up for more than 30 months were analyzed. The mean age was 64.1 ± 12.9 years, and the mean follow-up duration was 46.3 ± 12.0 months. There were 45 patients in the spondylolisthesis group and 51 patients in the nonspondylolisthesis group. The overall prevalence rate of unintended facet fusion was 52.1% in the series of DDS. Patients with spondylolisthesis were older (67.8 vs 60.8 years, p = 0.007) and had a higher incidence rate of facet arthrodesis (75.6% vs 31.4%, p < 0.001) than patients without spondylolisthesis. Patients who had spondylolisthesis or were older than 65 years were more likely to have facet arthrodesis (OR 6.76 and 4.82, respectively). There were no significant differences in clinical outcomes, including VAS back and leg pain, ODI, and JOA scores between the 2 groups. Furthermore, regardless of whether or not unintended facet arthrodesis occurred, all patients experienced significant improvement (all p < 0.05) in the clinical evaluations.
During the mean follow-up of almost 4 years, the prevalence of unintended facet arthrodesis was 52.1% in patients who underwent DDS. Although the clinical outcomes were not affected, elderly patients with spondylolisthesis might have a greater chance of facet fusion. This could be a cause of the limited range of motion at the index levels long after DDS.