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Chao-Hung Kuo, Peng-Yuan Chang, Jau-Ching Wu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Li-Yu Fay, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Henrich Cheng and Wen-Cheng Huang

OBJECTIVE

In the past decade, dynamic stabilization has been an emerging option of surgical treatment for lumbar spondylosis. However, the application of this dynamic construct for mild spondylolisthesis and its clinical outcomes remain uncertain. This study aimed to compare the outcomes of Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) with minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) for the management of single-level spondylolisthesis at L4–5.

METHODS

This study retrospectively reviewed 91 consecutive patients with Meyerding Grade I spondylolisthesis at L4–5 who were managed with surgery. Patients were divided into 2 groups: DDS and MI-TLIF. The DDS group was composed of patients who underwent standard laminectomy and the DDS system. The MI-TLIF group was composed of patients who underwent MI-TLIF. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by visual analog scale for back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores at each time point of evaluation. Evaluations included radiographs and CT scans for every patient for 2 years after surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 86 patients with L4–5 spondylolisthesis completed the follow-up of more than 2 years and were included in the analysis (follow-up rate of 94.5%). There were 64 patients in the DDS group and 22 patients in the MI-TLIF group, and the overall mean follow-up was 32.7 months. Between the 2 groups, there were no differences in demographic data (e.g., age, sex, and body mass index) or preoperative clinical evaluations (e.g., visual analog scale back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores). The mean estimated blood loss of the MI-TLIF group was lower, whereas the operation time was longer compared with the DDS group (both p < 0.001). For both groups, clinical outcomes were significantly improved at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery compared with preoperative clinical status. Moreover, there were no differences between the 2 groups in clinical outcomes at each evaluation time point. Radiological evaluations were also similar and the complication rates were equally low in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

At 32.7 months postoperation, the clinical and radiological outcomes of DDS were similar to those of MI-TLIF for Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis at L4–5. DDS might be an alternative to standard arthrodesis in mild lumbar spondylolisthesis. However, unlike fusion, dynamic implants have issues of wearing and loosening in the long term. Thus, the comparable results between the 2 groups in this study require longer follow-up to corroborate.

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Chao-Hung Kuo, Wen-Cheng Huang, Jau-Ching Wu, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Li-Yu Fay, Ching-Lan Wu and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

Pedicle screw–based dynamic stabilization has been an alternative to conventional lumbar fusion for the surgical management of low-grade spondylolisthesis. However, the true effect of dynamic stabilization on adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) remains undetermined. Authors of this study aimed to investigate the incidence of ASD and to compare the clinical outcomes of dynamic stabilization and minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF).

METHODS

The records of consecutive patients with Meyerding grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis who had undergone surgical management at L4–5 in the period from 2007 to 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were divided into two groups according to the surgery performed: Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) group and MI-TLIF group. Pre- and postoperative radiological evaluations, including radiography, CT, and MRI studies, were compared. Adjacent discs were evaluated using 4 radiological parameters: instability (antero- or retrolisthesis), disc degeneration (Pfirrmann classification), endplate degeneration (Modic classification), and range of motion (ROM). Clinical outcomes, measured with the visual analog scale (VAS) for back and leg pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, were also compared.

RESULTS

A total of 79 patients with L4–5 degenerative spondylolisthesis were included in the analysis. During a mean follow-up of 35.2 months (range 24–89 months), there were 56 patients in the DDS group and 23 in the MI-TLIF group. Prior to surgery, both groups were very similar in demographic, radiological, and clinical data. Postoperation, both groups had similarly significant improvement in clinical outcomes (VAS, ODI, and JOA scores) at each time point of evaluation. There was a lower chance of disc degeneration (Pfirrmann classification) of the adjacent discs in the DDS group than in the MI-TLIF group (17% vs 37%, p = 0.01). However, the DDS and MI-TLIF groups had similar rates of instability (15.2% vs 17.4%, respectively, p = 0.92) and endplate degeneration (1.8% vs 6.5%, p = 0.30) at the cranial (L3–4) and caudal (L5–S1) adjacent levels after surgery. The mean ROM in the cranial and caudal levels was also similar in the two groups. None of the patients required secondary surgery for any ASD (defined by radiological criteria).

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical improvements after DDS were similar to those following MI-TLIF for L4–5 Meyerding grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis at 3 years postoperation. According to radiological evaluations, there was a lower chance of disc degeneration in the adjacent levels of the patients who had undergone DDS. However, other radiological signs of ASD, including instability, endplate degeneration, and ROM, were similar between the two groups. Although none of the patients in the present series required secondary surgery, a longer follow-up and a larger number of patients would be necessary to corroborate the protective effect of DDS against ASD.

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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Chao-Hung Kuo, Wen-Cheng Huang, Li-Yu Fay, Henrich Cheng and Jau-Ching Wu

OBJECTIVE

Cigarette smoking can adversely affect bone fusion in patients who undergo anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. However, there is a paucity of data on smoking among patients who have undergone cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA). The present study aimed to compare the clinical and radiological outcomes of smokers to those of nonsmokers following CDA.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of consecutive patients who had undergone 1- or 2-level CDA for cervical disc herniation or spondylosis and had a minimum 2-year follow-up. All patients were grouped into a smoking group, which consisted of those who had consumed cigarettes within 6 months prior to the CDA surgery, or a nonsmoking group, which consisted of those who had not consumed cigarettes at all or within 6 months of the CDA. Clinical outcomes were evaluated according to the visual analog scale for neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index, Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale, and Nurick Scale at each time point of evaluation. Radiological outcomes were assessed using radiographs and CT for multiple parameters, including segmental range of motion (ROM), neutral lordotic curve, and presence of heterotopic ossification (HO).

RESULTS

A total of 109 patients completed at least 2 years of follow-up and were analyzed (mean follow-up 42.3 months). There were 89 patients in the nonsmoking group and 20 in the smoking group. The latter group was younger and predominantly male (both p < 0.05) compared to the nonsmoking group. The two groups had similar improvements in all clinical outcomes after CDA compared to preoperatively. Radiological evaluations were also very similar between the two groups, except for two factors. The smoking group had well-preserved segmental ROM after CDA at an average of 8.1° (both pre- and postoperation). However, while the nonsmoking group remained mobile, segmental ROM decreased significantly (8.2° to 6.9°, p < 0.05) after CDA. There was a trend toward more HO development in the nonsmoking group than in the smoking group, but the difference was without significance (59.6% vs 50.0%, p = 0.43).

CONCLUSIONS

During an average 3.5 years of follow-up after 1- and 2-level CDA, cigarette smokers and nonsmokers had similar improvements in clinical outcomes. Moreover, segmental mobility was slightly better preserved in smokers. Since smoking status did not negatively impact outcomes, CDA may be a reasonable option for selected patients who have smoked.

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Tsung-Hsi Tu, Chu-Yi Lee, Chao-Hung Kuo, Jau-Ching Wu, Hsuan-Kan Chang, Li-Yu Fay, Wen-Cheng Huang and Henrich Cheng

OBJECTIVE

The published clinical trials of cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) have unanimously demonstrated the success of preservation of motion (average 7°–9°) at the index level for up to 10 years postoperatively. The inclusion criteria in these trials usually required patients to have evident mobility at the level to be treated (≥ 2° on lateral flexion-extension radiographs) prior to the surgery. Although the mean range of motion (ROM) remained similar after CDA, it was unclear in these trials if patients with less preoperative ROM would have different outcomes than patients with more ROM.

METHODS

A series of consecutive patients who underwent CDA at the level of C5–6 were followed up and retrospectively reviewed. The indications for surgery were medically refractory cervical radiculopathy, myelopathy, or both, caused by cervical disc herniation or spondylosis. All patients were assigned to 1 of 2 groups: a less-mobile group, which consisted of those patients who had an ROM of ≤ 5° at C5–6 preoperatively, or a more-mobile group, which consisted of patients whose ROM at C5–6 was > 5° preoperatively. Clinical outcomes, including visual analog scale, Neck Disability Index, and Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale scores, were evaluated at each time point. Radiological outcomes were also assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 60 patients who had follow-up for more than 2 years were analyzed. There were 27 patients in the less-mobile group (mean preoperative ROM 3.0°) and 33 in the more-mobile group (mean ROM 11.7°). The 2 groups were similar in demographics, including age, sex, diabetes, and cigarette smoking. Both groups had significant improvements in clinical outcomes, with no significant differences between the 2 groups. However, the radiological evaluations demonstrated remarkable differences. The less-mobile group had a greater increase in ΔROM than the more-mobile group (ΔROM 5.5° vs 0.1°, p = 0.001), though the less-mobile group still had less segmental mobility (ROM 8.5° vs 11.7°, p = 0.04). The rates of complications were similar in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative segmental mobility did not alter the clinical outcomes of CDA. The preoperatively less-mobile (ROM ≤ 5°) discs had similar clinical improvements and greater increase of segmental mobility (ΔROM), but remained less mobile, than the preoperatively more-mobile (ROM > 5°) discs at 2 years postoperatively.

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Hsuan-Kan Chang, Wen-Cheng Huang, Tsung-Hsi Tu, Li-Yu Fay, Chao-Hung Kuo, Chih-Chang Chang, Ching-Lan Wu, Jiing-Feng Lirng, Jau-Ching Wu, Henrich Cheng and Shih-Ming Hsu

OBJECTIVE

One- and two-level cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) has been compared to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in several large-scale, prospective, randomized trials that have demonstrated similar clinical outcomes. However, whether these results would be similar when treating 3-level disc herniation and/or spondylosis has remained unanswered. This study aimed to investigate the differences between 3-level CDA and ACDF.

METHODS

A series of 50 patients who underwent 3-level CDA at C3–7 was retrospectively reviewed and compared with another series of 50 patients (age- and sex-matched controls) who underwent ACDF at C3–7. Clinical outcomes were measured using the visual analog scale (VAS) for neck and arm pain, the modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale, and the Neck Disability Index (NDI). Radiological outcomes included range of motion (ROM) at the index levels. Every patient was evaluated by CT for the presence of fusion in the ACDF group. Also, complication profiles were investigated.

RESULTS

The demographics and levels of distribution in both groups were very similar. During the follow-up period of 24 months, clinical outcomes improved (overall and respectively in each group) for both the CDA and ACDF patients when compared with the patients’ preoperative condition. There were essentially few differences between the two groups in terms of neck and arm pain VAS scores, mJOA scores, and NDI scores preoperatively and at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. After the 3-level surgery, the CDA group had an increased mean ROM of approximately 3.4°, at 25.2° ± 8.84°, compared to their preoperative ROM (21.8° ± 7.20°) (p = 0.001), whereas the ACDF group had little mobility (22.8° ± 5.90° before and 1.0° ± 1.28° after surgery; p < 0.001). The mean operative time, estimated blood loss, and complication profiles were similar for both groups.

CONCLUSIONS

In this selectively matched retrospective study, clinical outcomes after 3-level CDA and ACDF were similar during the 2-year follow-up period. CDA not only successfully preserved but slightly increased the mobility at the 3 index levels. However, the safety and efficacy of 3-level CDA requires more long-term data for validatation.