Study tests unilateral versus bilateral lumbar fusion

April 9, 2012
Study tests unilateral versus bilateral lumbar fusion

(HealthDay) -- For patients with degenerative lumbar diseases, the unilateral pedicle screw (PS) instrumented transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) procedure results in shorter operative time, less blood loss, and reduced implant costs compared with a bilateral PS instrumented TLIF procedure, according to research published in the March issue of The Spine Journal.

Huaming Xue, M.D., of the Shanghai Yangpu District Central Hospital, and colleagues conducted a prospective, randomized trial involving 80 patients with degenerative lumbar diseases who underwent the TLIF procedure using either unilateral or bilateral PS .

After an average follow-up time of 25.3 months, no significant between-group treatment differences were observed for hospital time for double-level fusion cases, measures of postoperative pain and function, total fusion rate, screw failure, or general . The researchers further note that patients who underwent a unilateral PS procedure had a significantly shorter operative time, less , and reduced implant costs compared with those who underwent the bilateral PS procedure.

"Unilateral PS instrumented TLIF is a viable treatment option generating better results, especially in terms of operative time, blood loss, and hospital time for single-level disease and implant costs. No decrease in the fusion rate or increase in the complication rate was observed," the authors conclude.

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