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Repair of spondylolysis using compression with a modular link and screws

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We describe the results of a prospective case series of patients with spondylolysis, evaluating a technique of direct stabilisation of the pars interarticularis with a construct that consists of a pair of pedicle screws connected by a U-shaped modular link passing beneath the spinous process. Tightening the link to the screws compresses bone graft in the defect in the pars, providing rigid intrasegmental fixation. We have carried out this procedure on 20 patients aged between nine and 21 years with a defect of the pars at L5, confirmed on CT. The mean age of the patients was 13.9 years (9 to 21). They had a grade I or less spondylolisthesis and no evidence of intervertebral degeneration on MRI. The mean follow-up was four years (2.3 to 7.3). The patients were assessed by the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and a visual analogue scale (VAS). At the latest follow-up, 18 patients had an excellent clinical outcome, with a significant (p < 0.001) improvement in their ODI and VAS scores. The mean ODI score at final follow-up was 8%. Assessment of the defect by CT showed a rate of union of 80%. There were no complications involving the internal fixation.

The strength of the construct removes the need for post-operative immobilisation.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr F. Altaf; e-mail: farhaanaltaf@hotmail.com

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