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Antoine Jaeger, David Giber, Claire Bastard, Benjamin Thiebaut, François Roubineau, Charles Henri Flouzat Lachaniette and Arnaud Dubory

OBJECTIVE

L5–S1 stand-alone anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a reliable technique to treat symptomatic degenerative disc disease but remains controversial for treatment of isthmic spondylolisthesis. In the present study the authors aimed to identify risk factors of instrumentation failure and pseudarthrosis after stand-alone L5–S1 ALIF and to evaluate whether instrumentation failure influenced the rate of fusion.

METHODS

The study included 64 patients (22 [34.4%] male and 42 [65.6%] female, mean age 46.4 years [range 21–65 years]) undergoing stand-alone L5–S1 ALIF using radiolucent anterior cages with Vertebridge plating fixation in each vertebral endplate. Clinical and radiographic data were reviewed, including age, sex, pelvic parameters, segmental sagittal angle (SSA), C7/sacro-femoral distance (SFD) ratio, C7 sagittal tilt, lumbar lordosis (LL), segmental LL, percentage of L5 slippage, L5–S1 disc angle, and posterior disc height ratio. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify risk factors of instrumentation failure and pseudarthrosis.

RESULTS

At a mean follow-up of 15.9 months (range 6.6–27.4 months), fusion had occurred in 57 patients (89.1%). Instrumentation failure was found in 12 patients (18.8%) and pseudarthrosis in 7 patients (10.9%). The following parameters influenced the occurrence of instrumentation failure: presence of isthmic spondylolisthesis (p < 0.001), spondylolisthesis grade (p < 0.001), use of an iliac crest bone autograft (p = 0.04), cage height (p = 0.03), pelvic incidence (PI) (p < 0.001), sacral slope (SS) (p < 0.001), SSA (p = 0.003), and LL (p < 0.001). Instrumentation failure was statistically linked to the occurrence of L5–S1 pseudarthrosis (p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, no risk factors were found.

CONCLUSIONS

L5–S1 isthmic spondylolisthesis and high PI seem to be risk factors for instrumentation failure in case of stand-alone L5–S1 ALIF, findings that support the necessity of adding percutaneous posterior pedicle screw instrumentation in these cases.

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Diala Thomas, Manon Bachy, Aurélien Courvoisier, Arnaud Dubory, Houssam Bouloussa and Raphaël Vialle

OBJECT

Spinopelvic alignment is crucial in assessing an energy-efficient posture in both normal and disease states, such as high-displacement developmental spondylolisthesis (HDDS). The overall effect in patients with HDDS who have undergone local surgical correction of lumbosacral imbalance for the global correction of spinal balance remains unclear. This paper reports the progressive spontaneous improvement of global sagittal balance following surgical correction of lumbosacral imbalance in patients with HDDS.

METHODS

The records of 15 patients with HDDS who underwent surgery between 2005 and 2010 were reviewed. The treatment consisted of L4–sacrum reduction and fusion via a posterior approach, resulting in complete correction of lumbosacral kyphosis. Preoperative, 6-month postoperative, and final follow-up postoperative angular measurements were taken from full-spine lateral radiographs obtained with the patient in a standard standing position. Radiographic measurements included pelvic incidence, sacral slope, lumbar lordosis, and thoracic kyphosis. The degree of lumbosacral kyphosis was evaluated by the lumbosacral angle. Because of the small number of patients, nonparametric tests were considered for data analysis.

RESULTS

Preoperative lumbosacral kyphosis and L-5 anterior slip were corrected by instrumentation. Transient neurological complications were noted in 5 patients. Statistical analysis showed a significant increase of thoracic kyphosis on 6-month postoperative and final follow-up radiographs (p < 0.001). A statistically significant decrease of lumbar lordosis was noted between preoperative and 6-month control radiographs (p < 0.001) and between preoperative and final follow-up radiographs (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the authors' observations, this technique resulted in an effective reduction of L-5 anterior slip and significant reduction of lumbosacral kyphosis (from 69.8° to 105.13°). Due to complete reduction of lumbosacral kyphosis and anterior trunk displacement associated with L-5 anterior slipping, lumbar lordosis progressively decreased and thoracic kyphosis progressively increased postoperatively. Adjusting the sagittal trunk balance produced not only pelvic anteversion, but also reciprocal adjustment of lumbar lordosis and thoracic kyphosis, creating a satisfactory level of compensated global sagittal balance.