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Marjan Alimi, Christoph P. Hofstetter, Se Young Pyo, Danika Paulo and Roger Härtl

OBJECT

Surgical decompression is the intervention of choice for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) when nonoperative treatment has failed. Standard open laminectomy is an effective procedure, but minimally invasive laminectomy through tubular retractors is an alternative. The aim of this retrospective case series was to evaluate the clinical and radiographic outcomes of this procedure in patients who underwent LSS and to compare outcomes in patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

Patients with LSS without spondylolisthesis and with stable Grade I spondylolisthesis who had undergone minimally invasive tubular laminectomy between 2004 and 2011 were included in this analysis. Demographic, perioperative, and radiographic data were collected. Clinical outcome was evaluated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores, as well as Macnab's criteria.

RESULTS

Among 110 patients, preoperative spondylolisthesis at the level of spinal stenosis was present in 52.5%. At a mean follow-up of 28.8 months, scoring revealed a median improvement of 16% on the ODI, 2.75 on the VAS back, and 3 on the VAS leg, compared with the preoperative baseline (p < 0.0001). The reoperation rate requiring fusion at the same level was 3.5%. Patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis had no significant differences in their clinical outcome or reoperation rate.

CONCLUSIONS

Minimally invasive laminectomy is an effective procedure for the treatment of LSS. Reoperation rates for instability are lower than those reported after open laminectomy. Functional improvement is similar in patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis. This procedure can be an alternative to open laminectomy. Routine fusion may not be indicated in all patients with LSS and spondylolisthesis.

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Marjan Alimi, Christoph P. Hofstetter, Guang-Ting Cong, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Andrew R. James, Danika Paulo, Eric Elowitz and Roger Härtl

Object

Extreme lateral interbody fusion (ELIF) is a popular technique for anterior fixation of the thoracolumbar spine. Clinical and radiological outcome studies are required to assess safety and efficacy. The aim of this study was to describe the functional and radiological impact of ELIF in a degenerative disc disease population with a longer follow-up and to assess the durability of this procedure.

Methods

Demographic and perioperative data for all patients who had undergone ELIF for degenerative lumbar disorders between 2007 and 2011 were collected. Trauma and tumor cases were excluded. For radiological outcome, the preoperative, immediate postoperative, and latest follow-up coronal Cobb angle, lumbar sagittal lordosis, bilateral foraminal heights, and disc heights were measured. Pelvic incidence (PI) and PI–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch were assessed in scoliotic patients. Clinical outcome was evaluated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS), as well as the Macnab criteria.

Results

One hundred forty-five vertebral levels were surgically treated in 90 patients. Pedicle screw and rod constructs and lateral plates were used to stabilize fixation in 77% and 13% of cases, respectively. Ten percent of cases involved stand-alone cages. At an average radiological follow-up of 12.6 months, the coronal Cobb angle was 10.6° compared with 23.8° preoperatively (p < 0.0001). Lumbar sagittal lordosis increased by 5.3° postoperatively (p < 0.0001) and by 2.9° at the latest follow-up (p = 0.014). Foraminal height and disc height increased by 4 mm (p < 0.0001) and 3.3 mm (p < 0.0001), respectively, immediately after surgery and remained significantly improved at the last follow-up. Separate evaluation of scoliotic patients showed no statistically significant improvement in PI and PI-LL mismatch either immediately postoperatively or at the latest follow-up. Clinical evaluation at an average follow-up of 17.6 months revealed an improvement in the ODI and the VAS scores for back, buttock, and leg pain by 21.1% and 3.7, 3.6, and 3.7 points, respectively (p < 0.0001). According to the Macnab criteria, 84.8% of patients had an excellent, good, or fair functional outcome. New postoperative thigh numbness and weakness was detected in 4.4% and 2.2% of the patients, respectively, which resolved within the first 3 months after surgery in all but 1 case.

Conclusions

This study provides what is to the authors' knowledge the most comprehensive set of radiological and clinical outcomes of ELIF in a fairly large population at a midterm follow-up. Extreme lateral interbody fusion showed good clinical outcomes with a low complication rate. The procedure allows for at least midterm clinically effective restoration of disc and foraminal heights. Improvement in coronal deformity and a small but significant increase in sagittal lordosis were observed. Nonetheless, no significant improvement in the PI-LL mismatch was achieved in scoliotic patients.