Comparison of minimally invasive decompression alone versus minimally invasive short-segment fusion in the setting of adult degenerative lumbar scoliosis:

J Neurosurg Spine 39:394–403, 2023

Patients with degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) and neurogenic pain may be candidates for decompression alone or short-segment fusion. In this study, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) decompression (MIS-D) and MIS short-segment fusion (MIS-SF) in patients with DLS were compared in a propensity score–matched analysis.

METHODS The propensity score was calculated using 13 variables: sex, age, BMI, Charlson Comorbidity Index, smoking status, leg pain, back pain, grade 1 spondylolisthesis, lateral spondylolisthesis, multilevel spondylolisthesis, lumbar Cobb angle, pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis, and pelvic tilt in a logistic regression model. One-to-one matching was performed to compare perioperative morbidity and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). The minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for patients was calculated based on cutoffs of percentage change from baseline: 42.4% for Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), 25.0% for visual analog scale (VAS) low-back pain, and 55.6% for VAS leg pain.

RESULTS A total of 113 patients were included in the propensity score calculation, resulting in 31 matched pairs. Perioperative morbidity was significantly reduced for the MIS-D group, including shorter operative duration (91 vs 204 minutes, p < 0.0001), decreased blood loss (22 vs 116 mL, p = 0.0005), and reduced length of stay (2.6 vs 5.1 days, p = 0.0004). Discharge status (home vs rehabilitation), complications, and reoperation rates were similar. Preoperative PROMs were similar, but after 3 months, improvement was significantly higher for the MIS-SF group in the VAS back pain score (−3.4 vs −1.2, p = 0.044) and Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12) Mental Component Summary (MCS) score (+10.3 vs +1.9, p = 0.009), and after 1 year the MIS-SF group continued to have significantly greater improvement in the VAS back pain score (−3.9 vs −1.2, p = 0.026), ODI score (−23.1 vs −7.4, p = 0.037), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey MCS score (+6.5 vs −6.5, p = 0.0374), and VR-12 MCS score (+7.6 vs −5.1, p = 0.047). MCID did not differ significantly between the matched groups for VAS back pain, VAS leg pain, or ODI scores (p = 0.38, 0.055, and 0.072, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Patients with DLS undergoing surgery had similar rates of significant improvement after both MIS-D and MIS-SF. For matched patients, tradeoffs were seen for reduced perioperative morbidity for MIS-D versus greater magnitudes of improvement in back pain, disability, and mental health for patients 1 year after MIS-SF. However, rates of MCID were similar, and the small sample size among the matched patients may be subject to patient outliers, limiting generalizability of these results.

The influence of approach side on facet preservation in microscopic bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach for degenerative lumbar scoliosis

J Neurosurg Spine 13:000–000, 2010. (DOI: 10.3171/2010.5.SPINE091001)

The authors compared the clinical outcomes of microscopic bilateral decompression via a unilateral approach (MBDU) for the treatment of degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) and for lumbar canal stenosis (LCS) without instability. The authors also compared postoperative spinal instability in terms of different approach sides (concave or convex) following the procedure.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed data obtained in 50 consecutive patients (25 in the DLS group and 25 in the LCS group) who underwent MBDU; the minimum follow-up period was 2 years. Patients with DLS were divided into 2 subgroups according to the surgical approach side: a concave group (23 segment) and a convex group (17 segments). The Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale scores for the assessment of low-back pain were evaluated before surgery and at final follow-up. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association Scale scores and recovery rates were compared between the DLS and LCS groups, and between the convex and concave groups. Cobb angle and scoliotic wedging angle (SWA) were evaluated on standing radiographs before surgery and at final follow-up. Facet joint preservation (the percentage of preservation) was assessed on pre- and postoperative CT scans, compared between the LCS and DLS groups, and compared between the concave and convex groups. The influence of approach side on postoperative progression of segmental instability was also examined in the DLS group.

Results. The mean recovery rate was 58.7% in the DLS and 62.0% in the LCS group. The mean recovery rate was 58.6% in the convex group and 60.6% in the concave group. There were no significant differences in recovery rates between the LCS and DLS groups, or between the DLS subgroups. The mean Cobb angles in the DLS group were significantly increased from 12.7° preoperatively to 14.1° postoperatively (p < 0.05), and mean preoperative SWAs increased significantly from 6.2° at L3–4 and 4.1° at L4–5 preoperatively to 7.4° and 4.9°, respectively, at final follow-up (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in percentage of preservation between the DLS and LCS groups. The mean percentages of preservation on the approach side in the DLS group at L3–4 and L4–5 were 89.0% and 83.1% in the convex group, and those in the concave group were 67.3% and 77.6%, respectively. The percentage of preservation at L3–4 was significantly higher in the convex than the concave group. The mean SWA had increased in the concave group (p = 0.01) but not the convex group (p = 0.15) at final follow-up.

Conclusions. The MBDU can reduce postoperative segmental spinal instability and achieve good postoperative clinical outcomes in patients with DLS. The convex approach provides surgeons with good visibility and improves preservation of facet joints.

Risk Factors of Sagittal Decompensation After Long Posterior Instrumentation and Fusion for Degenerative Lumbar Scoliosis

SPINE Volume 35, Number 17, pp 1595–1601.

Study Design. A retrospective study of clinical results of operative treatment for degenerative lumbar scoliosis.

Objective. To determine the risk factors of sagittal decompensation after long instrumentation and fusion to L5 or S1. Summary of Background Data. Little is known about the risk factors for sagittal decompensation, which was defined in this study as sagittal C7 plumb falling anterior 8 cm from the posterosuperior corner of the sacrum.

Methods. Forty-five patients (mean age: 64.4 year) with adult degenerative lumbar scoliosis were reviewed retrospectively with a minimum 2 years. The mean number of levels fused was 6.1  1.6 segments. The upper instrumented vertebra ranged from T9 to L2. The lower instrumented vertebra was L5 and S1 in 24 and 21 patients, respectively.

Results. Sagittal decompensation (SD) developed in 19 patients. The most significant risk factors of SD were preoperative sagittal imbalance and high pelvic incidence. The preoperative sagittal C7 plumb was more positive (67.9 mm) in the decompensation group than in the balance group (37.0 mm) (P = 0.002). There was a significant difference in pelvic incidence between 61.7° in the decompensation and 54.9° in the balance group (P = 0.01). The preoperative lumbar lordosis was hypolordotic in the decompensation group, however, it was not found to be a risk factor. Pseudarthrosis was identified at the lumbosacral junction in 5 patients, and 4 of them (80%) had SD. SD developed in 55% of patients who had loosening of the distal screws and 50% of patients with hypolordotic lumbar fusion. Distal adjacent segment disease was more likely to cause SD than proximal adjacent segment disease.

Conclusion. Sagittal decompensation is common after long posterior instrumentation and fusion for degenerative lumbar scoliosis. It is mostly associated with complications at the distal segments, including pseudarthrosis and implant failure at the lumbosacral junction. Restoration of optimal lumbar lordosis and secure lumbosacral fixation is necessary especially in patients with preoperative sagittal imbalance and high pelvic incidence in order to prevent sagittal decompensation after surgery. Key words: adult spinal deformity, degenerative lumbar scoliosis, sagittal imbalance, sagittal decompensation, risk factor