This retrospective study aimed to clarify the influence of comorbid severe knee osteoarthritis (KOA) on surgical outcome in terms of sagittal spinopelvic/lower-extremity alignment in elderly patients with degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS).
In total, 110 patients aged at least 65 years (27 men, 83 women; mean age 74.0 years) who underwent short-segment lumbar fusion were included in the present study. Using the Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grading system, patients were categorized into those with no to mild KOA (the mild-OA group: KL grades 0–2), moderate KOA (moderate-OA group: KL grade 3), or severe KOA (severe-OA group: KL grade 4). Surgical results were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system, and spinopelvic/lower-extremity parameters were compared among the 3 groups. Adjacent-segment disease (ASD) was assessed over a mean follow-up period of 4.7 years (range 2–8.1 years).
The study cohort was split into the mild-OA group (42 patients), the moderate-OA group (28 patients), and the severe-OA group (40 patients). The severe-OA group contained significantly more women (p = 0.037) and patients with double-level listhesis (p = 0.012) compared with the other groups. No significant differences were found in mean postoperative JOA scores or recovery rate among the 3 groups. The mean postoperative JOA subscore for restriction of activities of daily living was only significantly lower in the severe-OA group compared with the other groups (p = 0.010). The severe-OA group exhibited significantly greater pelvic incidence, pelvic tilt, and knee flexion angle (KFA), along with a smaller degree of lumbar lordosis than the mild-OA group both pre- and postoperatively (all p < 0.05). Overall, the rate of radiographic ASD was observed to be higher in the severe-OA group than in the mild-OA group (p = 0.015). Patients with ASD in the severe-OA group exhibited significantly greater pelvic tilt, pre- and postoperatively, along with less lumbar lordosis, than the patients without ASD postoperatively (all p < 0.05).
A lack of lumbar lordosis caused by double-level listhesis and knee flexion contracture compensated for by far greater pelvic retroversion is experienced by elderly patients with DLS and severe KOA. Therefore, corrective lumbar surgery and knee arthroplasty may be considered to improve sagittal alignment, which may contribute to the prevention of ASD, resulting in favorable long-term surgical outcomes.