Comparative Study of the Incidence and Severity of Degenerative Change in the Transition Zones After Instrumented Versus Noninstrumented Fusions of the Lumbar Spine

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether the addition of pedicle screws and rods to a fusion of two or more vertebrae of the lowest three motion segments of the lumbar spine increases the incidence or severity of transition zone change (TZC) above or below the fused area. A study group of 52 patients who had a fusion with fixation and a control group of 31 who had a nearly identical operation but without fixation were obtained. Radiographs and computed tomography scans of the area of study were taken preoperatively and were repeated ∼7 years after the operation. Results showed that the addition of pedicle screw fixation does not increase the incidence or severity of TZC in the first 7 years after surgery.

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