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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 401-409

Lumbar facet joint stabilization for symptomatic spinal degenerative disease: A systematic review of the literature

Department of Biomedicine, Neurosurgical Unit, Neurosciences and Advanced Diagnostics (BiND), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Giovanni Grasso
Department of Biomedicine, Neurosurgical Unit, Neurosciences and Advanced Diagnostics (BiND), University of Palermo, Via Del Vespro 129, Palermo 90100
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcvjs.jcvjs_112_22

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Objective: Lumbar spinal degenerative disease (LSDD), unresponsive to conservative therapy, is commonly treated by surgical decompression and interbody fusion. Since facet joint incompetence has been suggested as responsible for the entire phenomenon of spinal degeneration, facet stabilization can be considered as an alternative technique to treat symptomatic spinal degenerative disease. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature for studies utilizing lumbar facet joint fixation techniques for LSDD to assess their safety and efficacy. Methods: A systematic literature review was performed following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses statement, with no limits in terms of date of publication. Demographic data, inclusion criteria, clinical and radiological outcome, frequency of adverse events (AEs), and follow-up time were evaluated. Results: A total of 19 studies were included with a total of 1577 patients. The techniques used for facet arthrodesis were Goel intra-articular spacers in 21 patients (5.3%), Facet Wedge in 198 patients (15.8%), facet screws fixation techniques in 1062 patients (52.6%), and facet joints arthroplasty in 296 patients (26.3%). Clinical outcomes were assessed through the evaluation of pain relief and improvement in functional outcome. Radiological outcomes were assessed by the evaluation of proper positioning of instrumentation, solid bony fusion rate, and preservation of disk height. AE's mainly observed were pseudoarthrosis, reoperation, instrumentation displacement/malpositioning/migration, neurological impairment, deep vein thrombosis, and infections. The mean follow-up time ranged from 6 months to 11.7 years. Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that facet joint arthrodesis appears to be effective in managing LSDD. These findings, however, are limited by the small sample size of patients. Accordingly, larger series are needed before formal recommendations can be made.

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