Does stopping fusion at L3 instead of L4 impact degeneration? 6 observations


Researchers analyzed whether stopping fusion at L3 versus L4 impacted disc degeneration and facet joint degeneration, according to a Spine Deformity study.

They studied functional outcomes of patients with idiopathic scoliosis who underwent surgical correction and fusion with pedicle screw construct either down to L3 or L4. The study focused on whether "saving a mobile lumbar motion segment distally would demonstrate any difference in terms of disc degeneration and facet joint degeneration" after five years.


They study included 21 patients in the L3 group, 16 patients in the L4 group and 30 people in the healthy group. Researchers analyzed lumbar MRIs, focusing on DD and FJD.


Here are six observations:


1. In the L3 group, average lumbar curve magnitude correction rates were 78 percent.


2. In the L4 group, average lumbar curve magnitude correction rates were 79 percent.


3. No significant DD difference existed among the three groups.


4. The L3 and L4 groups both experienced greater FJD than the control group experienced.


5. Clinical outcome scores did not differ significantly among the groups.


6. Researchers concluded the L3 and L4 groups experienced similar disc degeneration and facet degeneration rates.


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