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.
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.
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.
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.