Sho Dohzono, Akira Matsumura, Hidetomi Terai, Hiromitsu Toyoda, Akinobu Suzuki and Hiroaki Nakamura
Minimally invasive decompressive surgery using a microscope or endoscope has been widely performed for the treatment of lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSS). In this study the authors aimed to assess outcomes following microscopic bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach (MBDU) in terms of postoperative bone regrowth and preservation of the facet joints in patients with degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DS) as compared with those in patients with LSS.
In the period from May 1998 to February 2007 at the authors' institution, 85 patients underwent MBDU at L4–5. Clinical outcome was evaluated before surgery and at the final follow-up using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score for low-back pain. The following radiographic parameters were assessed at the L4–5 segment before surgery and at the final follow-up: 1) percentage slip on standing lateral radiographs, 2) percentage slip on dynamic radiographs, 3) disc arc on dynamic radiographs, and 4) percentage of facet joint preservation on CT. Bone regrowth on the ventral and dorsal sides of the facet joint on CT were assessed at the final follow-up.
The cases of 47 patients (23 with DS at L-4 and 24 with LSS at L4–5 without instability) who had a follow-up of at least 2 years were retrospectively reviewed. The improvement ratio in the JOA score, that is, the percentage improvement as indicated by the difference between preoperative and postoperative JOA scores, was not significantly different between patients with DS and LSS. The percentage slip had progressed at the latest follow-up in both groups (1.4% and 1.1%, respectively), and there was no significant difference between the 2 groups. The percentage of facet joint preservation in the DS and LSS groups was 72.8% and 83.4%, respectively, on the approach side and 95.5% and 96.5% on the contralateral side. Facet joint preservation was significantly less on the approach side than on the contralateral side in both groups. The average amount of bone regrowth on the dorsal and ventral sides of the facet joint was 3.4 and 0.9 mm, respectively, in the DS group and 2.0 and 1.0 mm in the LSS group. The difference between the 2 groups was not significant. Facet joint preservation and bone regrowth were not correlated with clinical outcomes.
Microscopic bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach can prevent postoperative spinal instability because of good preservation of the posterior elements including the facet joints, which is thought to be the main reason for the relatively small amount of bone regrowth after surgery.
Akira Matsumura, Takashi Namikawa, Hidetomi Terai, Tadao Tsujio, Akinobu Suzuki, Sho Dozono, Hiroyuki Yasuda and Hiroaki Nakamura
The authors compared the clinical outcomes of microscopic bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach (MBDU) for the treatment of degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) and for lumbar canal stenosis (LCS) without instability. The authors also compared postoperative spinal instability in terms of different approach sides (concave or convex) following the procedure.
The authors retrospectively reviewed data obtained in 50 consecutive patients (25 in the DLS group and 25 in the LCS group) who underwent MBDU; the minimum follow-up period was 2 years. Patients with DLS were divided into 2 subgroups according to the surgical approach side: a concave group (23 segment) and a convex group (17 segments). The Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale scores for the assessment of low-back pain were evaluated before surgery and at final follow-up. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale scores and recovery rates were compared between the DLS and LCS groups, and between the convex and concave groups. Cobb angle and scoliotic wedging angle (SWA) were evaluated on standing radiographs before surgery and at final follow-up. Facet joint preservation (the percentage of preservation) was assessed on pre- and postoperative CT scans, compared between the LCS and DLS groups, and compared between the concave and convex groups. The influence of approach side on postoperative progression of segmental instability was also examined in the DLS group.
The mean recovery rate was 58.7% in the DLS and 62.0% in the LCS group. The mean recovery rate was 58.6% in the convex group and 60.6% in the concave group. There were no significant differences in recovery rates between the LCS and DLS groups, or between the DLS subgroups. The mean Cobb angles in the DLS group were significantly increased from 12.7° preoperatively to 14.1° postoperatively (p < 0.05), and mean preoperative SWAs increased significantly from 6.2° at L3–4 and 4.1° at L4–5 preoperatively to 7.4° and 4.9°, respectively, at final follow-up (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in percentage of preservation between the DLS and LCS groups. The mean percentages of preservation on the approach side in the DLS group at L3–4 and L4–5 were 89.0% and 83.1% in the convex group, and those in the concave group were 67.3% and 77.6%, respectively. The percentage of preservation at L3–4 was significantly higher in the convex than the concave group. The mean SWA had increased in the concave group (p = 0.01) but not the convex group (p = 0.15) at final follow-up.
The MBDU can reduce postoperative segmental spinal instability and achieve good postoperative clinical outcomes in patients with DLS. The convex approach provides surgeons with good visibility and improves preservation of facet joints.