Few data are available on the occurrence after stand-alone lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) of implant subsidence, whose definition and incidence vary across studies. The primary objective of this work was to determine the incidence of subsidence 1 year postoperatively, using an original measurement method, whose validity was first assessed. The secondary objective was to assess the clinical impact of subsidence.
Implant subsidence after stand-alone LLIF is a common complication that can adversely affect clinical outcomes.
Material and methods
Of 69 included patients who underwent stand-alone LLIF, 67 (97%) were re-evaluated at least 1 year later. Furthermore, 63 (91%) patients had two available computed tomography (CT) scans for assessing subsidence, one performed immediately after surgery and the other 1 year later. Reproducibility of the original measurement method was assessed in a preliminary study. Subsidence was defined as at least 4mm loss of fused space height.
The incidence of subsidence was 32% (20 patients). Subsidence was global in 7 (11%) patients and partial in 13 (21%) patients. Mean loss of height was 5.5±1.5mm. Subsidence predominated anteriorly in 50% of cases. The lordotic curvature of the fused segment was altered in 50% of patients, by a mean of 8°±3°. Fusion was achieved in 67/69 (97%) patients. The Oswestry score and visual analogue scale scores for low-back and nerve-root pain were significantly improved after 1 year in the overall population and in the groups with and without subsidence.
Reproducibility of our measurement method was found to be excellent. Subsidence was common but without significant clinical effects after 1 year. Nevertheless, subsidence can be associated with pain and can result in loss of lumbar lordosis, which is a potential risk factor for degenerative disease of the adjacent segments. A score for predicting the risk of subsidence will now be developed by our group as a tool for improving patient selection to stand-alone LLIF.
Level of evidence
IV, retrospective cohort study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Lumbar spine, Fusion, Minimally invasive surgery, Subsidence