Spine Surgery and Related Research
Online ISSN : 2432-261X
ISSN-L : 2432-261X
Indications for prophylactic lumbar decompression at the L3/4 level in patients with L4/5 responsible lumbar spinal canal stenosis
Toru AsariShuichi AburakawaGentaro KumagaiSunao TanakaYasuyuki Ishibashi
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2017 Volume 1 Issue 4 Pages 191-196


Introduction: Lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSS) is a very common disease. When the responsible level is considered to be L4/5 despite the appearance of double-level (L3/4 and L4/5) stenosis on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it is difficult for spinal surgeons to decide whether prophylactic decompression should be performed at the L3/4 level. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the dural sac cross-sectional area (DCSA) at the L3/4 level and clinical symptoms in patients with double-level stenosis.

Methods: Thirty-five patients with double-level stenosis were registered in this study. All patients underwent decompression surgery at the L4/5 responsible level. The severity of patients' symptoms was evaluated by the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score and its rate of recovery. A measurement program on MRI was used to determine the DCSA.

Results: The clinical course of LSS according to the JOA score recovery rate at the final follow-up revealed that the good group (≥50%) included 27 patients, and the poor group (<50%) included 8 patients. In the good group, the mean DCSA at the L3/4 level was 72.3 ± 32.1 mm2 preoperatively and 71.3 ± 29.0 mm2 at the final follow-up. In contrast, in the poor group, the mean DCSA at the L3/4 level was 49.1 ± 23.8 mm2 preoperatively and 40.6 ± 14.1 mm2 at the final follow-up. Significant differences were observed in the preoperative and final follow-up DCSAs at the L3/4 level between two groups.

Conclusions: Considering the present results, prophylactic decompression surgery at the L3/4 level should be performed for patients with double-level stenosis and DCSA <50 mm2 at the L3/4 level.

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© 2017 The Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research.

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