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Posterolateral lumbar fusion using facet joint fixation with biodegradable rods: a pilot study.

Authors
  • Johnsson, R
  • Axelsson, P
  • Strömqvist, B
Type
Published Article
Journal
European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Volume
6
Issue
2
Pages
144–148
Identifiers
PMID: 9209884
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Roentgen stereophotogrammetric analysis (RSA) was used to assess whether there is a potential for biodegradable rods crossing the denuded facet joints to increase the stability and healing rate of lumbar posterolateral fusions. Eleven consecutive patients with lumbosacral disc/facet joint degeneration had a posterolateral fusion augmented with 2- or 3.2-mm biodegradable rods passing perpendicularly through the center of the denuded facet joints. The patients were followed-up with RSA in supine and erect positions monthly from the 2nd to the 6th postoperative month, and again 1 year postoperatively. All seven L5-S1 fusions healed. Four cases were stable as defined by RSA within 3 months, two within 6 months, and one within 1 year. One L4-S1 fusion could not be evaluated by RSA. None of the remaining three L4-S1 fusions fully healed. In all three cases 1- to 3-mm intervertebral translations remained at 1 year. None of the 11 fusions showed any radiographic signs of osteolysis around the biodegradable rods. The promising results of this pilot study indicate that posterolateral L5-S1 fusion augmented with transarticular biodegradable rods crossing the denuded facet joints may yield rapid intervertebral stabilization and a high healing rate without any adverse rod effects. This may be due to enhanced initial fusion stabilization and/or increased ossification induced by the rods.

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