Lumbar spondylolisthesis case series

An open-label, multicenter, noninferiority trial involving patients with symptomatic lumbar stenosis that had not responded to conservative treatment and who had single-level spondylolisthesis of 3 mm or more. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to undergo decompression surgery (decompression-alone group) or decompression surgery with instrumented fusion (fusion group). The primary outcome was a reduction of at least 30% in the score on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI; range, 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more impairment) during the 2 years after surgery, with a noninferiority margin of -15 percentage points. Secondary outcomes included the mean change in the ODI score as well as scores on the Zurich Claudication Questionnaire, leg and back pain, the duration of surgery and length of hospital stay, and reoperation within 2 years.

The mean age of patients was approximately 66 years. Approximately 75% of the patients had leg pain for more than a year, and more than 80% had back pain for more than a year. The mean change from baseline to 2 years in the ODI score was -20.6 in the decompression-alone group and -21.3 in the fusion group (mean difference, 0.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.8 to 4.3). In the modified intention-to-treat analysis, 95 of 133 patients (71.4%) in the decompression-alone group and 94 of 129 patients (72.9%) in the fusion group had a reduction of at least 30% in the ODI score (difference, -1.4 percentage points; 95% CI, -12.2 to 9.4), showing the noninferiority of decompression alone. In the per-protocol analysis, 80 of 106 patients (75.5%) and 83 of 110 patients (75.5%), respectively, had a reduction of at least 30% in the ODI score (difference, 0.0 percentage points; 95% CI, -11.4 to 11.4), showing noninferiority. The results for the secondary outcomes were generally in the same direction as those for the primary outcome. Successful fusion was achieved with certainty in 86 of 100 patients (86.0%) who had imaging available at 2 years. Reoperation was performed in 15 of 120 patients (12.5%) in the decompression-alone group and in 11 of 121 patients (9.1%) in the fusion group.

In this trial involving patients who underwent surgery for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis, most of whom had symptoms for more than a year, decompression alone was noninferior to decompression with instrumented fusion over a period of 2 years. Reoperation occurred somewhat more often in the decompression-alone group than in the fusion group. (NORDSTEN-DS number, NCT02051374.) 1)

797 patients undergoing surgery for grade 1 DLS. For univariate comparisons, patients were stratified by BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 (obese) and < 30 kg/m2 (nonobese). Baseline, 3-mo, and 12-mo follow-up parameters were collected. PROs included the North American Spine Society satisfaction questionnaire, numeric rating scale (NRS) back pain, NRS leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and EuroQoL-5D (EQ-5D) Questionnaire.

Chan et al. identified 382 obese (47.9%) and 415 nonobese patients (52.1%). At baseline, obese patients had worse NRS back pain, NRS leg pain, ODI, and EQ-5D scores (P < .001, P = .01, P < .001, and P = .02, respectively). Both cohorts improved significantly for back and leg pain, ODI, and EQ-5D at 12 mo (P < .001). At 12 mo, similar proportions of obese and nonobese patients responded that surgery met their expectations (62.6% vs 67.4%, P = .24). In multivariate analyses, BMI was independently associated with worse NRS leg pain and EQ-5D at 12 mo (P = .01 and P = .02, respectively) despite adjusting for baseline differences.

Obesity is associated with inferior leg pain and quality of life-but similar back pain, disability, and satisfaction-12 mo postoperatively. However, obese patients achieve significant improvements in all PRO metrics at 12 mo. 2).


Patients of the LSOS with confirmed DLSS and spondylolisthesis were enrolled in this study. The outcomes of this study were Spinal Stenosis Measure (SSM) symptoms (score range 1-5, best-worst) and function (1-4) over time, measured at baseline, 6, 12, 24 and 36 months follow-up. In order to quantify the effect of fusion surgery as compared to decompression alone and number of decompressed levels, we used mixed effects models and accounted for the repeated observations in main outcomes (SSM symptoms and SSM function) over time. In addition to individual patients' random effects, we also fitted random slopes for follow-up time points and compared these two approaches with Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) and the chi-squared test. Confounders were adjusted with fixed effects for age, gender, BMI, diabetes, CIRS musculoskeletal disorders and duration of symptoms.

One hundred and thirty-one patients undergoing decompression surgery alone (n = 85) or decompression plus fusion surgery (n = 46) were included in this study. In the multiple mixed effects model the adjusted effect of fusion versus decompression alone surgery on SSM symptoms was 0.06 (95% confidence interval, CI: -0.16 to 0.27) and -0.07 (95% CI: -0.25 to 0.10) on SSM function, respectively.

Among the patients with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis our study confirms that in the two groups, decompression alone and decompression plus fusion, patients distinctively benefited from surgical treatment. When adjusted for confounders, fusion surgery was not associated with a more favorable outcome in both SSM scores as compared to decompression alone surgery 3).


163 consecutive patients who were surgically treated for DS between 2003 and 2008. Individual patients were followed for at least 5 years after the initial surgery.

The primary end point was any type of second lumbar surgery. Radiographic measurements and demographic data were reviewed. They compared patients who underwent reoperation with those who did not. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the relative risk of ASD and SSD in patients surgically treated for DS.

Radiographic measurements and demographic data were reviewed. We identified the incidence and risk factors for reoperation, and we performed univariate and multivariate analyses to determine the independent risk factors for revision surgery for SSD and for ASD as the two distinct reasons for the reoperation. Age, gender, etiology, body mass index (BMI), and other radiographic data were analyzed to determine the risk factors for developing SSD and ASD.

The average patient age was 65.8 (50-81 years; 73 women and 90 men; mean follow-up, 5.9±1.6 years). Eighty-nine patients had posterior lumbar interbody fusion and 74 had laminotomies. Twenty-two patients had L3-L4 involvement and 141 had L4-L5 involvement. The cumulative reoperation rate was 6.1% at 1 year, 8.5% at 2 years, 15.2% at 3 years, 17.7% at 5 years, and 23.3% (38/163 patients) at the final follow-up. A significantly higher reoperation rate was observed for patients undergoing laminotomy than for patients undergoing posterior lumbar interbody fusion (33.8% vs. 14.4%, p=.01). Eighteen patients (11.0%) had SSD, and 13 patients (8.9%) developed ASD. Higher BMI (obesity) and greater disc height (greater than 10 mm) predicted the occurrence of SSD in the multivariate model (BMI=odds ratio 4.11 [95% confidence interval 1.29-13.11], p=.016; disc height=3.18 [1.03-9.82], p=.044), and gender (male) and facet degeneration (Fujiwara grade greater than 3) predicted the development of ASD in the multivariate model (gender=4.74 [1.09-20.45], p=.037; facet degeneration=6.31 [1.09-36.52], p=.039).

The incidence of reoperation in patients surgically treated for DS was 23.2% at a mean time of 5.9 years. A significantly higher incidence of reoperation was observed in patients treated with decompression alone compared with those treated with decompression and fusion. Body mass index and disc height were identified as independent risk factors for SSD, whereas male gender and facet degeneration were identified as independent risk factors for ASD. The results of this comprehensive review will guide spine surgeons in their preoperative planning and in the surgical management of patients with DS, thereby reducing the reoperation rate 4).


In the randomized cohort (304 patients enrolled), 66% of those randomized to receive surgery received it by four years whereas 54% of those randomized to receive nonoperative care received surgery by four years. In the observational cohort (303 patients enrolled), 97% of those who chose surgery received it whereas 33% of those who chose nonoperative care eventually received surgery. The intent-to-treat analysis of the randomized cohort, which was limited by nonadherence to the assigned treatment, showed no significant differences in treatment outcomes between the operative and nonoperative groups at three or four years. An as-treated analysis combining the randomized and observational cohorts that adjusted for potential confounders demonstrated that the clinically relevant advantages of surgery that had been previously reported through two years were maintained at four years, with treatment effects of 15.3 (95% confidence interval, 11 to 19.7) for bodily pain, 18.9 (95% confidence interval, 14.8 to 23) for physical function, and -14.3 (95% confidence interval, -17.5 to -11.1) for the Oswestry Disability Index. Early advantages (at two years) of surgical treatment in terms of the secondary measures of bothersomeness of back and leg symptoms, overall satisfaction with current symptoms, and self-rated progress were also maintained at four years.

Compared with patients who are treated nonoperatively, patients in whom degenerative spondylolisthesis and associated spinal stenosis are treated surgically maintain substantially greater pain relief and improvement in function for four years 5).

Austevoll IM, Hermansen E, Fagerland MW, Storheim K, Brox JI, Solberg T, Rekeland F, Franssen E, Weber C, Brisby H, Grundnes O, Algaard KRH, Böker T, Banitalebi H, Indrekvam K, Hellum C; NORDSTEN-DS Investigators. Decompression with or without Fusion in Degenerative Lumbar Spondylolisthesis. N Engl J Med. 2021 Aug 5;385(6):526-538. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2100990. PMID: 34347953.
Chan AK, Bisson EF, Bydon M, Glassman SD, Foley KT, Potts EA, Shaffrey CI, Shaffrey ME, Coric D, Knightly JJ, Park P, Wang MY, Fu KM, Slotkin JR, Asher AL, Virk MS, Kerezoudis P, DiGiorgio AM, Haid RW, Mummaneni PV. Obese Patients Benefit, but do not Fare as Well as Nonobese Patients, Following Lumbar Spondylolisthesis Surgery: An Analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database. Neurosurgery. 2018 Dec 12. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyy589. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30541141.
Ulrich NH, Burgstaller JM, Pichierri G, Wertli MM, Farshad M, Porchet F, Steurer J, Held U; LSOS Study Group.. Decompression Surgery Alone Versus Decompression Plus Fusion in Symptomatic Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Swiss Prospective Multi-center Cohort Study with 3 Years of Follow-up. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 Jan 13. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000002068. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28092340.
Sato S, Yagi M, Machida M, Yasuda A, Konomi T, Miyake A, Fujiyoshi K, Kaneko S, Takemitsu M, Machida M, Yato Y, Asazuma T. Reoperation rate and risk factors of elective spinal surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis: minimum 5-year follow-up. Spine J. 2015 Jul 1;15(7):1536-44. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2015.02.009. Epub 2015 Feb 11. PubMed PMID: 25681581.
Weinstein JN, Lurie JD, Tosteson TD, Zhao W, Blood EA, Tosteson AN, Birkmeyer N, Herkowitz H, Longley M, Lenke L, Emery S, Hu SS. Surgical compared with nonoperative treatment for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis. four-year results in the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) randomized and observational cohorts. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2009 Jun;91(6):1295-304. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.H.00913. PubMed PMID: 19487505; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2686131.
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