The purpose of this study was to determine whether anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) followed by percutaneous translaminar facet screw fixation is effective in elderly patients with degenerative spinal disease.
Twenty-nine patients > 60 years old who underwent ALIF with percutaneous translaminar facet screw fixation from January to June 2004 were studied. The radiological and clinical data of these patients were collected and analyzed. The mean follow-up period was 14.6 months (range 12–17 months).
The mean preoperative, immediate postoperative, and 6- and 12-month postoperative posterior disc heights were 7.1, 11.6, 9.8, and 9.8 mm, respectively. Subsidences of posterior disc height > 20% developed in 9 patients (30%). The significant risk factor for subsidence was found to be 2-level operations (p = 0.023). The mean preoperative Oswestry Disability Index score and visual analog scale scores for the back and leg were 24.4, 6.6, and 7.5, respectively, and improved postoperatively to 14.2, 1.5, and 1.8, respectively.
Minimally invasive ALIF followed by percutaneous translaminar facet screw fixation was performed as a minimally invasive surgical technique in elderly patients. However, in certain circumstances such as multilevel operations or in patients with severe osteoporosis, significant cage subsidence can develop.