Fusion vs. decompression alone for degenerative spondylolisthesis patients: 5 insights

Megan Wood -   Print  |

Stanford (Calif.) University Medical Center researchers compared decompression alone against fusion for treating degenerative spondylolisthesis.

The study included administrative discharge records from California, Florida and New York inpatient, ambulatory and emergency department environments between 2005 and 2011. The researchers assessed 75,024 patients with spondylolisthesis, with 6,712 receiving decompression alone and 68,312 undergoing fusion.


Clinical Spine Surgery published the study.


Here are five insights:


1. The decompression alone group saw higher rates of reoperation at one year (6.87 percent) compared to fusion (5.53 percent).


2. At three years, the decompression alone patients experienced a similar reoperation rate to fusion patients; the decompression alone patients experienced a 13.86 percent reoperation rate, compared to 12.91 percent for fusion. Researchers designated this as not statistically different.


3. Similarly, the decompression alone patients had a 16.9 percent reoperation rate at five years, compared to 17.7 percent rate for fusion. Researchers noted this finding as not statistically different, as well.


4. The study also revealed patients receiving decompression alone underwent the second operation sooner than their fusion counterparts, if they required a reoperation.


5. Researchers concluded at five years, fusion or decompression alone deliver similar reoperation rates for patients with degenerative spondylolisthesis.


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