Facet Fixation Combined with Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Comparative Analysis of Clinical Experience and A New Method of Surgical Treatment of Patients with Lumbar Degenerative Diseases

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Background: For the treatment of patients with degenerative diseases of the lumbar spine the technique of pedicle fixation is widespread, when after open decompression channel structure locking screws are introduced into the vertebral body through the back vertebra legs. We first used a fundamentally new way of fixing the rear using the facet-boards Cage «Facet Wedge», when posterior fixation is done by closing the facet joints with minimally invasive, percutaneous method. We have not found data on the clinical efficacy of facet fixation in scientific literature.

Aims: To compare the clinical efficacy of facet fixation combined with interbody fusion in the treatment of patients with degenerative lumbar spine disease.

Materials and methods: The study included 145 patients who were divided into 2 groups. The study group with long-term observation included patients (n=100) who underwent a new method for lumbar fixation; the method comprises unilateral or bilateral implantation of titanium Cage «facet Wedge» in the joint space facet joint in combination with the anterior, lateral, and transforaminal interbody fusion. Clinical comparison group (n=45) included retrospectively recruited patients who were performed titanium pedicle screw installation after open decompression and interbody fusion posterior lumbar fixation. Dynamic observation and comprehensive evaluation of the treatment clinical results was carried out for 18 months after surgery.

Results: Cage facet installation technology is quite simple, universal for the stabilization of the rear of the complex after interbody fusion from the front, side, and rear access; and does not require the intraoperative application of expensive high-tech equipment. Comparative analysis of the main group showed significantly better results in terms of the duration of the operation [CG 125 (90; 140) min, the CCG 205 (160; 220) min; p=0.01], the volume of blood loss [CG 80 (70; 120) ml, CCG 350 (300; 550) ml; p=0.008], activation time [CG 2 (1; 2) days, 4 CCG (3; 5) days; p=0.02], length of hospitalization [CG 9 (10; 11) days, the CCG 13 (12; 15) days; p=0.03], the level of pain on a visual analog scale [CG 3 (2; 4) mm, CCG 15 (12; 18) mm; p=0.001], quality of life (by index Oswestry) [CG 8 (6; 8) points, the CCG 23 (20; 28) points, p=0.003], and labor rehabilitation [CG 3 (2; 6) months, CCG 9 (6; 12) months; p=0.0001]. The number of postoperative complications in group 1 was 13%, in the 2nd ― 31,1% (p=0,0012). The new method involves fixing the back with considerably less surgical trauma of paravertebral soft tissue that results in early activation of patients, reduction of stay in hospital period, and better functional recovery of patients.

Conclusions: The application of facet fixation combined with interbody fusion in the treatment of patients with degenerative diseases of the lumbar spine allows achieving the best clinical outcomes and fewer postoperative complications during the short and long-term follow-up if compared with the traditional method of transpedicular stabilization. The combination of low-impact and reliability facet fixation techniques for posterior stabilization of the operated segment creates favorable conditions for the restoration of a functional condition of patients, full social and physical rehabilitation.

About the authors

V. A. Byvaltsev

Irkutsk State Medical University;
Railway Clinical Hospital on the station Irkutsk-Passazhirskiy of Russian Railways Ltd;
Scientific Center of Surgery and Traumatology;
Irkutsk State Medical Academy of Continuing Education

Email: byval75vadim@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4349-7101
Irkutsk Russian Federation

A. A. Kalinin

Irkutsk State Medical University;
Railway Clinical Hospital on the station Irkutsk-Passazhirskiy of Russian Railways Ltd;
Scientific Center of Surgery and Traumatology;

Author for correspondence.
Email: andrei_doc_v@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2707-0511
Irkutsk Russian Federation

A. K. Okoneshnikova

Irkutsk State Medical University

Email: alena-okoneshnikova@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1556-3095
Irkutsk Russian Federation

T. T. Kerimbaev

Irkutsk State Medical University

Email: kerimbaev_t@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0862-1747
Irkutsk Russian Federation

E. G. Belykh

Irkutsk State Medical University;
Scientific Center of Surgery and Traumatology

Email: e.belykh@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2060-5739
Irkutsk Russian Federation


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