Gait analysis, trunk movements, and electromyographic patterns after minimally invasive spine surgery for lumbar instability: An observational prospective study

World Neurosurg X. 2023 Dec 11:21:100262. doi: 10.1016/j.wnsx.2023.100262. eCollection 2024 Jan.


Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate trunk kinematics and spine muscle activation during walking after minimally invasive surgery in patients with L4-L5 degenerative spondylolisthesis suffering from lumbar instability (LI).

Methods: Eleven patients suffering from LI and 13 healthy controls (HC) were enrolled. Trunk kinematics and spine muscle activation patterns during walking were collected. Maximal trunk ranges of motion were also recorded from standing position. Assessments were performed pre-operatively (T0), 1 month (T1) and 3 months (T2) after MIS.

Results: We found significant improvement in spine muscle activation during walking at T2 compared to T0, mainly involving right/left symmetry at the operated level (L4-L5) and up-down synchronization from L3 to S1. Significant improvements in trunk rotation nearing to the HC group during walking were also found at T2 after surgery, though no changes were observed in the maximal range of motion of the trunk during standing. Furthermore, trunk rotation improvement correlated with a lower grade of residual disability.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that trunk rotation improves after surgery, and impaired aspects of spine muscle activation can be improved with surgery. These biomechanical parameters could represent novel tools for monitoring the effect of surgery in LI and preventing impaired spine mobility and muscle activation.

Keywords: Center of activity; Cross-correlation; Low back pain; Spine muscle activation; Surface electromyography; Surgical procedures; Vertebral column.