Thoracolumbar deformity arthrodesis to L5 in adults: the fate of the L5-S1 disc.


Journal Article

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective clinical and radiographic analysis of long adult deformity fusions terminating at L5. OBJECTIVES: To define the results of thoracolumbar fusions to L5 in adult deformity patients with critical evaluation for potential subsequent L5-S1 disc degeneration and L5 implant loosening. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Few studies have reported the results of long adult fusions to L5 and the potential for subsequent advanced L5-S1 disc degeneration is unknown. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-four consecutive patients fused from the thoracic spine to L5 at a single institution were evaluated at a mean follow-up of 5.6 years (2.1-14.3 years). SRS-24 functional outcome questionnaire results were obtained for all patients at most recent follow-up. RESULTS: By latest follow-up, subsequent advanced L5-S1 disc degeneration (SAD) developed in 19 of 31 patients (61%) assessed as having "healthy" discs before surgery. SAD was associated with a forward shift in sagittal balance (P = 0.02) and need for revision surgery (P = 0.02). Risk factors for the development of SAD were preoperative positive sagittal balance (P = 0.01), younger age (P = 0.03), and the presence of even mild radiographic degeneration before surgery (P = 0.004). Loss of L5 implant fixation occurred in six patients (18%) and was associated with deep seating of L5 within the pelvis (P = 0.0001). Inferior SRS-24 outcome measures were associated with preoperative advanced L5-S1 disc degeneration and the development of postoperative sagittal imbalance. CONCLUSIONS: Subsequent L5-S1 DDD developed in 61% of patients after long adult fusions to L5 and was associated with a significant loss of sagittal alignment and an increased likelihood for or definite need for another operation. Loss of L5 implant fixation is not uncommon, especially in patients with a deep-seated L5 vertebra.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Edwards, CC; Bridwell, KH; Patel, A; Rinella, AS; Jung Kim, Y; Berra, ABA; Della Rocca, GJ; Lenke, LG

Published Date

  • September 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 18

Start / End Page

  • 2122 - 2131

PubMed ID

  • 14501924

Pubmed Central ID

  • 14501924

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1528-1159

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0362-2436

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/01.brs.0000084266.37210.85


  • eng