Whether lumbar decompression with fusion surgery is effective against Meyerding grade 2 degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) is unknown. Therefore, the current study aimed to compare the surgical outcomes between posterior decompression alone and posterior decompression with fusion surgery among patients with grade 2 DS with central canal stenosis.
This retrospective cohort study included prospectively registered patients (n = 3863) who underwent surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal canal stenosis at nine high-volume spine centers from April 2017 to July 2019. Patients with grade 2 DS and central canal stenosis were included in the analysis. Patients with radiculopathy, including foraminal stenosis, degenerative scoliosis, and concomitant anterior spinal fusion, and those with a previous history of lumbar surgery were excluded. The participants were divided into the decompression alone group (group D) and decompression with fusion surgery group (group F). Data about patient-reported outcomes, including Numeric Rating Scale (low back pain, leg pain, leg numbness, and foot numbness), Oswestry Disability Index, EuroQol Five-Dimensional questionnaire, and 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey scores, were obtained preoperatively and 2 years postoperatively.
In total, 2354 (61%) patients, including 42 (1.8%) with grade 2 DS (n = 18 in group D and n = 24 in group F), completed the 2-year follow-up. Group D had a higher proportion of female patients than group F. However, the two groups did not significantly differ in terms of other baseline demographic characteristics. Group D had a significantly shorter surgical time and lower volume of intraoperative blood loss than group F. Postoperative patient-reported outcomes did not significantly differ between the two groups, although the preoperative degree of low back pain was higher in group F than in group D. The slip degree of group D did not worsen during the follow-up period.
The surgical outcomes were similar regardless of the addition of fusion surgery among patients with grade 2 DS. Decompression alone was superior to decompression with fusion surgery as it was associated with a lower volume of intraoperative blood loss and shorter surgical time.