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  • Author or Editor: Takayoshi Shimizu x
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Takayoshi Shimizu, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Bungo Otsuki, Koichi Murata and Shuichi Matsuda

OBJECTIVE

The use of indirect decompression surgery for severe canal stenosis remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of lateral interbody fusion (LIF) without posterior decompression in degenerative lumbar spinal spondylosis with severe stenosis on preoperative MRI.

METHODS

This is a retrospective case series from a single academic institution. The authors included 42 patients (45 surgical levels) who were preoperatively diagnosed with severe degenerative lumbar stenosis on MRI based on the previously published Schizas classification. These patients underwent LIF with supplemental pedicle screw fixation without posterior decompression. Surgical levels were limited to L3–4 and/or L4–5. All patients satisfied the minimum 1-year MRI follow-up. The authors compared the cross-sectional area (CSA) of the thecal sac and the clinical outcome scores (Japanese Orthopaedic Association [JOA] score) preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at the 1-year follow-up. Fusion status and disc height were evaluated based on CT scans obtained at the 1-year follow-up.

RESULTS

The CSA improved over time, increasing from 54.5 ± 19.2 mm2 preoperatively to 84.7 ± 31.8 mm2 at 3 weeks postoperatively and to 132.6 ± 37.5 mm2 at the last follow-up (average 28.3 months) (p < 0.001). The JOA score significantly improved over time (preoperatively 16.1 ± 4.1, 3 months postoperatively 24.4 ± 4.0, and 1-year follow-up 25.7 ± 2.9; p < 0.001). The fusion rate at the 1-year follow-up was 88.8%, and disc heights were significantly restored (preoperative, 6.3 mm and postoperative, 9.6 mm; p < 0.001). Patients showing poor CSA expansion (< 200% expansion rate) at the last follow-up had a higher prevalence of pseudarthrosis than patients with significant CSA expansion (> 200% expansion rate) (25.0% vs 3.4%, p < 0.001). No major perioperative complications were observed.

CONCLUSIONS

LIF with indirect decompression for degenerative lumbar disease with severe canal stenosis provided successful clinical outcomes, including restoration of disc height and indirect expansion of the thecal sac. Severe canal stenosis diagnosed on preoperative MRI itself is not a contraindication for indirect decompression surgery.

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Kazuaki Morizane, Mitsuru Takemoto, Masashi Neo, Shunsuke Fujibayashi, Bungo Otsuki, Shimei Tanida, Takayoshi Shimizu, Hiromu Ito and Shuichi Matsuda

OBJECTIVE

Dyspnea and/or dysphagia is a life-threatening complication after occipitocervical fusion. The occiput-C2 angle (O-C2a) is useful for preventing dyspnea and/or dysphagia because O-C2a affects the oropharyngeal space. However, O-C2a is unreliable in atlantoaxial subluxation (AAS) because it does not reflect the translational motion of the cranium to C2, another factor affecting oropharyngeal area in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have reducible AAS. The authors previously proposed the occipital and external acoustic meatus to axis angle (O-EAa; i.e., the angle made by McGregor’s line and a line joining the external auditory canal and the middle point of the endplate of the axis [EA line]) as a novel, useful, and powerful predictor of the anterior-posterior narrowest oropharyngeal airway space (nPAS) distance in healthy subjects. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the validity of O-EAa as an indicator of oropharyngeal airway space in RA patients with AAS.

METHODS

The authors investigated 64 patients with RA. The authors collected lateral cervical radiographs at neutral position, flexion, extension, protrusion, and retraction and measured the O-C2a, C2-C6, O-EAa, anterior atlantodental interval (AADI), and nPAS. Patients were classified into 2 groups according to the presence of AAS and its mobility: group N, patients without AAS; and group R, patients with reducible AAS during dynamic cervical movement.

RESULTS

Group N had a significantly lower AADI and O-EAa than group R in all but the extension position. The O-EAa was a better predictor for nPAS than O-C2a according to the mixed-effects models in both groups (marginal R2: 0.510 and 0.575 for the O-C2a and O-EAa models in group N, and 0.250 and 0.390 for the same models, respectively, in group R).

CONCLUSIONS

O-EAa was superior to O-C2a in predicting nPAS, especially in the case of AAS, because it affects both O-C2a and cranial translational motion. O-EAa would be a useful parameter for surgeons performing occipitocervical fusion in patients with AAS.