Background: Degenerative lumbar stenosis associated with spondylolisthesis is common in elderly patients. The most common symptoms are those of neurogenic claudication with leg pain. Surgery is indicated for those who fail conservative management. The generally accepted recommendation is to perform a laminectomy and a fusion at the involved level.
Methods: We reviewed our results for minimally invasive single-level decompression without fusion performed by the senior author in patients with symptomatic lumbar stenosis with spondylolisthesis with no dynamic instability from 2008 to 2011 at a single institution. Outcomes were measured using the visual analog scale (VAS), Prolo Economic Functional Rating Scale, and revised Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) at initial presentation and at 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year follow-up time points.
Results: Records for 28 patients (19 males, 9 females) were reviewed. The success rate, defined as improvement in pain and functional outcome without the need for surgical fusion, was 86%. VAS scores decreased by 6.3 points, Prolo scores increased by 3.5 points, and the ODI decreased by 31% at 1 year. All changes were statistically significant.
Conclusion: Minimally invasive decompression alone can be a reasonable alternative to decompression and fusion for patients with spondylolisthetic lumbar stenosis and neurogenic claudication with leg pain. Decompression without fusion should be considered for older patients and for patients who are not ideal fusion candidates.
Keywords: Laminectomy; lumbar vertebrae; spinal stenosis; spondylolisthesis; surgical procedures–minimally invasive.