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Charles-Henri Flouzat-Lachaniette, Louis Ratte, Alexandre Poignard, Jean-Charles Auregan, Steffen Queinnec, Philippe Hernigou and Jérôme Allain

OBJECT

Frequent complications of posterolateral instrumented fusion have been reported after treatment of degenerative scoliosis in elderly patients. Considering that in some cases, most of the symptomatology of adult degenerative scoliosis (ADS) is a consequence of the segmental instability at the dislocated level, the use of minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) to manage symptoms can be advocated to reduce surgical morbidity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the midterm outcomes of 1- or 2-level minimally invasive ALIFs in ADS patients with 1- or 2-level dislocations.

METHODS

A total of 47 patients (average age 64 years; range 43–80 years) with 1- or 2-level ALIF performed for ADS (64 levels) in a single institution were included in the study. An independent spine surgeon retrospectively reviewed all the patients’ medical records and radiographs to assess operative data and surgery-related complications. Clinical outcome was reported using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the visual analog scale (VAS) for lumbar and leg pain. Intraoperative data and complications were collected. Fusion and risk for adjacent-level degeneration were assessed.

RESULTS

The mean follow-up duration was 3 years (range 1–10 years). ODI, and back and leg pain VAS scores were significantly improved at last follow-up. A majority of patients (74%) had a statistically significant improvement in their ODI score of more than 20 points at latest follow-up and 1 had a worsening of his disability. The mean operating time was 166 minutes (range 70–355 minutes). The mean estimated blood loss was 410 ml (range 50–1700 ml). Six (5 major and 1 minor) surgical complications (12.7% of patients) and 13 (2 major and 11 minor) medical complications (27.7% of patients) occurred without death or wound infection. Fusion was achieved in 46 of 47 patients. Surgery resulted in a slight but significant decrease of the Cobb angle, and improved the pelvic parameters and lumbar lordosis, but had no effect on the global sagittal balance. At latest follow-up, 9 patients (19.1%) developed adjacent-segment disease at a mean of 2 years’ delay from the index surgery; 4 were symptomatic but treated medically, and none required iterative surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Single- or 2-level minimally invasive fusion through a minimally invasive anterior approach in some selected cases of ADS produced a good functional outcome with a high fusion rate. They were associated with a significantly lower rate of complications in this study than the historical control.

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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.