Relation between laminectomy and development of adjacent segment instability after lumbar fusion with pedicle fixation

Po Liang Lai, Lih Huei Chen*, Chi Chien Niu, Tsai Sheng Fu, Wen Jer Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

130 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Design. A retrospective study of 101 patients who had undergone posterolateral lumbar fusion, to analyze the association between adjacent instability and the extent of laminectomy. Objectives. To investigate the hypothesis that the integrity of the posterior complex (spinous process/supraspinous ligament/spinous process) between the fused segments and the neighboring motion segments significantly influences lumbar spine stability. Summary of Background Data. Spinal fusion with pedicle fixation accelerates the degeneration of adjacent motion segments. The lowest cranial motion segment is the most common level for the development of adjacent instability. Laminectomy, including removal of the spinous process, supraspinous ligament, interspinous ligament, lamina and ligamentum flavum, jeopardizes the integrity of the posterior complex of the spine. Methods. This study enrolled 101 patients, followed up for at least 6 years, who had been treated with posterolateral lumbar fusion with pedicle fixation because of lumbar spondylolisthesis. The diagnosis of adjacent instability depended on the dynamic lateral views of the lumbosacral spine during each follow-up. The integrity of the posterior complex was based on the extent of laminectomy and the fusion level. Results. At the cranial adjacent motion segment, 2 of 31 (6.5%) patients with preserved posterior complex integrity between the fused segment and motion segment developed adjacent instability, compared with 17 of 70 (24.3%) without preserved posterior complex integrity. At the caudal adjacent motion segment, none of 13 patients (0%) with preserved integrity developed adjacent instability, compared with 3 of 54 (5.6%) without preserved integrity. Conclusions. Damaging the integrity of the posterior complex between the fused segments and the neighboring motion segments may jeopardize lumbar spine stability. Sacrificing either the supraspinous ligament or the tendon insertion points on the spinous processes leads to an accelerated development of adjacent instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2527-2532
Number of pages6
JournalSpine
Volume29
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 11 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adjacent instability
  • Adjacent segment
  • Laminectomy
  • Spinous process
  • Supraspinous ligament
  • Tension band

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