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Ki Young Lee, Jung-Hee Lee, Kyung-Chung Kang, Sung Joon Shin, Won Ju Shin, Sang-Kyu Im and Joon Hong Park

OBJECTIVE

Maintaining lumbosacral (LS) arthrodesis and global sagittal balance after long fusion to the sacrum remains an important issue in the surgical treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD). The importance and usefulness of LS fixation have been documented, but the optimal surgical long fusion to the sacrum remains a matter for debate. Therefore, the authors performed a retrospective study to evaluate fusion on CT scans and the risk factors for LS pseudarthrosis (nonunion) after long fusion to the sacrum in ASD.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective study of 59 patients with lumbar degenerative kyphosis (mean age 69.6 years) who underwent surgical correction, including an interbody fusion of the L5–S1, with a minimum 2-year follow-up. Achievement of LS fusion was evaluated by analyzing 3D-CT scans at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, and 2 years after surgery. Patients were classified into a union group (n = 36) and nonunion group (n = 23). Risk factors for nonunion were analyzed, including patient and surgical factors.

RESULTS

The overall fusion rate was 61% (36/59). Regarding radiological factors, optimal sagittal balance at the final follow-up significantly differed between two groups. There were no significant differences in terms of patient factors, and no significant differences with respect to the use of pedicle subtraction osteotomy, the number of fused segments, the proportion of anterior versus posterior interbody fusion, S2 alar iliac fixation versus conventional iliac fixation, or loosening of sacral or iliac screws. However, the proportion of metal cages to polyetheretherketone cages and the proportion of sacropelvic fixation were significantly higher in the union group (p = 0.022 and p < 0.05, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

LS junction fusion is crucial for global sagittal balance, and the use of iliac screws in addition to LS interbody fusion using a metal cage improves the outcomes of long fusion surgery for ASD patients.

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Ki Young Lee, Jung-Hee Lee, Kyung-Chung Kang, Won-Ju Shin, Sang Kyu Im and Seong Jin Cho

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) after long-segment fixation in patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) has been reported to range from 17% to 61.7%. Recent studies have reported using “hybrid” techniques in which semirigid fixation is introduced between the fused and flexible segments at the proximal level to allow a more gradual transition. The authors used these hybrid techniques in a clinical setting and analyzed PJK to evaluate the usefulness of the flexible rod (FR) technique.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively selected 77 patients with lumbar degenerative kyphosis (LDK) who underwent sagittal correction and long-segment fixation and had follow-up for > 1 year. An FR was used in 30 of the 77 patients. PJK development and spinal sagittal changes were analyzed in the FR and non-FR groups, and the predictive factors of PJK between a PJK group and a non-PJK group were compared.

RESULTS

The patient population comprised 77 patients (75 females and 2 males) with a mean (± SD) follow-up of 32.0 ± 12.7 months (36.7 ± 9.8 months in the non-FR group and 16.8 ± 4.7 months in the FR group) and mean (± SD) age of 71.7 ± 5.1 years. Sagittal balance was well maintained at final follow-up (10.5 and 1.5 mm) in the non-FR and FR groups, respectively. Thoracic kyphosis (TK) and lumbar lordosis (LL) were improved in both groups, without significant differences between the two (p > 0.05). PJK occurred in 28 cases (36.4%) in total, 3 (10%) in the FR and 25 (53.2%) in the non-FR group (p < 0.001). Postoperatively, PJK was observed at an average of 8.9 months in the non-FR group and 1 month in the FR group. No significant differences in the incidence of PJK regarding patient factors or radiological parameters were found between the PJK group and non-PJK group (p > 0.05). However, FR (vs non-FR) and interbody fusion except L5–S1 using oblique lumbar interbody fusion (vs non–oblique lumbar interbody fusion), demonstrated a significantly lower PJK prevalence (p < 0.001 and p = 0.044) among the surgical factors.

CONCLUSIONS

PJK was reduced after surgical treatment with the FR in the patients with LDK. Solid long-segment fixation and the use of the FR may become another surgical option for spine surgeons who plan and make decisions regarding spine reconstruction surgery for patients with ASD.

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Chong-Suh Lee, Kyung-Chung Kang, Sung-Soo Chung, Won-Hah Park, Won-Ju Shin and Yong-Gon Seo

OBJECTIVE

There is a lack of evidence of how back muscle strength changes after lumbar fusion surgery and how exercise influences these changes. The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in back muscle strength after posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and to measure the effects of a postoperative exercise program on muscle strength and physical and mental health outcomes.

METHODS

This prospective study enrolled 59 women (mean age 58 years) who underwent PLIF at 1 or 2 spinal levels. To assess the effects of a supervised lumbar stabilization exercise (LSE), the authors allocated the patients to an LSE (n = 26) or a control (n = 33) group. The patients in the LSE group performed the LSEs between 3 and 6 months postoperatively. Back extensor strength, visual analog scale (VAS) scores in back pain, and physical component summary (PCS) and mental component summary (MCS) scores on the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey were determined for the both groups.

RESULTS

Mean strength of the back muscles tended to slightly decrease by 7.5% from preoperatively to 3 months after PLIF (p = 0.145), but it significantly increased thereafter and was sustained until the last follow-up (38.1%, p < 0.001). The mean back muscle strength was similar in the LSE and control groups preoperatively, but it increased significantly more in the LSE group (64.2%) than in the control group (21.7%) at the last follow-up 12 months after PLIF (p = 0.012). At the last follow-up, decreases in back pain VAS scores were more significant among LSE group patients, who had a pain reduction on average of 58.2%, than among control group patients (reduction of 26.1%) (p = 0.013). The patients in the LSE group also had greater improvement in both PCS (39.9% improvement) and MCS (20.7% improvement) scores than the patients in the control group (improvement of 18.0% and 1.1%, p = 0.042 and p = 0.035, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

After PLIF, strength in back muscles decreased until 3 months postoperatively but significantly increased after that period. The patients who regularly underwent postoperative LSE had significantly improved back strength, less pain, and less functional disability at 12 months postoperatively.