The authors developed an original procedure, modified fenestration with restorative spinoplasty (MFRS) for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. The first step is to cut the spinous process in an L-shape, which is caudally reflected. This procedure allows easy access to the spinal canal, including lateral recesses, and makes it easy to perform a trumpet-style decompression of the nerve roots without violating the facet joints. After the decompression of neural tissues, the spinous process is anatomically restored (spinoplasty). The clinical outcomes at 2 years were evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale and patients' satisfaction. Radiological follow-up included radiographs and CT.
Between January 2000 and December 2002, 109 patients with neurogenic intermittent claudication with or without mild spondylolisthesis underwent MFRS. Of these, 101 were followed up for at least 2 years (follow-up rate 93%). The average score on the self-administered JOA scale in 89 patients without comorbidity causing gait disturbance improved from 13.3 preoperatively to 22.9 at 2 years' follow-up. Neurogenic intermittent claudication disappeared in all cases. The patients' assessment of treatment satisfaction was “satisfied” in 74 cases, “slightly satisfied” in 12, “slightly dissatisfied” in 2, and “dissatisfied” in 1 case. In 16 cases (18%), a minimum progression of slippage occurred, but no symptomatic instability or recurrent stenosis was observed. Computed tomography showed that the lateral part of the facet joints was well preserved, and the mean residual ratio was 80%. The MFRS technique produces an adequate and safe decompression of the spinal canal, even in patients with narrow and steep facet joints in whom conventional fenestration is technically demanding.