Minimum 10-Year Follow-up Study of Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion for Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

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The aims of the current study were to evaluate the long-term clinical and radiologic results of anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) for isthmic spondylolisthesis. Between 1981 and 1988, a total of 35 patients underwent ALIF for isthmic spondylolisthesis. Of these, 23 patients were followed clinically and radiographically for more than 10 years (average, 13.3 years). The Japanese Orthopaedic Association low-back pain score was used to evaluate the outcome of subjective symptoms and clinical signs. The preoperative and postoperative percentage of slip, preoperative and postoperative intervertebral disk height, interbody graft union, and pars defect union were evaluated by serial radiographs. The adjacent disk degeneration was also evaluated by radiographs and magnetic resonance imaging. Although the low-back pain score worsened after 5 years, ALIF provides satisfactory overall long-term clinical results. The preoperative percentage of slip and the disk height were corrected after surgery, but at the time of interbody graft union, slip and disk height recurred as a result of grafted bone collapse. The rate of union in the grafted area was 83%. In the nonunion cases, the scores gradually deteriorated with time, but the overall results were not different from those of union cases. Radiographs showed adjacent disk degeneration in 52% of cases in the upper adjacent level and in 70% of cases in the lower adjacent level, but these changes were not correlated with clinical outcomes.

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