Low reoperation rate following 336 multilevel lumbar laminectomies with noninstrumented fusions.
Few reoperations are required in older patients undergoing multilevel lumbar laminectomy with noninstrumented fusions for spinal stenosis with/without spondylolisthesis/instability, and they rarely require instrumentation.
We reviewed 336 patients averaging 66.5 years of age undergoing initial average 4.7 level lumbar laminectomies with average 1.4 level noninstrumented fusions over an average 7.1-year period (range 2.0-16.5 years). Patients uniformly exhibited spinal stenosis, instability (Grade I [195 patients] or Grade II spondylolisthesis [67 patients]), disc herniations (154 patients), and/or synovial cysts (66 patients). Reoperations, including for adjacent segment disease (ASD), addressed new/recurrent pathology.
Nine (2.7%) of 336 patients required reoperations, including for ASD, an average of 6.3 years (range 2-15 years) following initial 4.7 level laminectomies with 1.4 level noninstrumented fusions. Second operations warranted average 4.8 level (range 3-6) laminectomies and average 1.1 level non instrumented fusions addressing stenosis with instability (Grade I [7 patients] or Grade II [1 patient] spondylolisthesis), new disc herniations (2 patients), and/or a synovial cyst (1 patient).
Only 9 (2.7%) of 336 patients required reoperations (including for ASD) consisting of multilevel laminectomies with noninstrumented fusions for recurrent/new stenosis even with instability; these older patients were not typically unstable, or were likely already fused, and did not require instrumentation. Alternatively, reoperation rates following instrumented fusions in other series approached 80% at 5 postoperative years. Therefore, we as spinal surgeons should realize that older patients even with instability rarely require instrumentation and that the practice of performing instrumented fusions in everyone, irrespective of age, needs to stop.
Adjacent segment disease; diskectomy; laminectomy; low reoperation rate; lumbar surgery; multilevel laminectomy; noninstrumented fusion; spondylolisthesis; synovial cysts