Reduction and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion with posterior fixation versus transsacral cage fusion in situ with posterior fixation in the treatment of Grade 2 adult isthmic spondylolisthesis in the lumbosacral spine

J Neurosurg Spine 13:394–400, 2010.DOI: 10.3171/2010.3.SPINE09560

In situ transsacral fusion in the treatment of low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis has rarely been reported. The authors treated 13 cases of L-5 Grade 2 isthmic spondylolisthesis associated with collapsed disc space and osteoporosis by using transsacral fusion and fixation, and compared its clinical and radiological outcomes with the results of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and instrumental reduction in 21 patients.

Methods. The authors retrospectively analyzed 21 patients in Group A who were treated with reduction and TLIF, and 13 patients in Group B who were treated with transsacral cage fusion. Oswestry Disability Index and visual analog scale scores of back and leg pain were used to evaluate clinical outcomes. Radiological parameters for assessment included the percentage of slippage, whole lumbar lordosis, and lumbosacral angle. Operative data, fusion rate, and perioperative complications were recorded as well.

Results. The mean operation time and blood loss in Group B was less than that in Group A. Both groups realized good recovery from previous symptoms. The decrease in back and leg pain after surgery was significant within each group, without much difference between the 2 groups. No significant differences were found in lumbosacral angle, whole lumbar lordosis, visual analog scale score, and Oswestry Disability Index score between the 2 groups after surgery. The solid fusion rate was 95.2% in Group A and 92.3% in Group B. In Group A, 2 patients suffered from graft site pain, 1 had a superficial infection, and 1 had screw loosening; in Group B, dural tears were found in 2 patients, transient S-1 paresthesia in 2, and extensor hallucis longus muscle weakness in 1.

Conclusions. For patients with a collapsed disc space and poor bone quality, posterior in situ transsacral cage fusion may be used as an alternative to the TLIF procedure. The short-term clinical and radiological outcomes in the transsacral cage group were comparable with those in the TLIF group, although with a relatively higher neurological complication rate.