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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 104-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1343 - 1351
1 Dec 2022
Karlsson T Försth P Skorpil M Pazarlis K Öhagen P Michaëlsson K Sandén B


The aims of this study were first, to determine if adding fusion to a decompression of the lumbar spine for spinal stenosis decreases the rate of radiological restenosis and/or proximal adjacent level stenosis two years after surgery, and second, to evaluate the change in vertebral slip two years after surgery with and without fusion.


The Swedish Spinal Stenosis Study (SSSS) was conducted between 2006 and 2012 at five public and two private hospitals. Six centres participated in this two-year MRI follow-up. We randomized 222 patients with central lumbar spinal stenosis at one or two adjacent levels into two groups, decompression alone and decompression with fusion. The presence or absence of a preoperative spondylolisthesis was noted. A new stenosis on two-year MRI was used as the primary outcome, defined as a dural sac cross-sectional area ≤ 75 mm2 at the operated level (restenosis) and/or at the level above (proximal adjacent level stenosis).

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 7 | Pages 960 - 965
1 Jul 2013
Försth P Michaëlsson K Sandén B

Whether to combine spinal decompression with fusion in patients with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis remains controversial. We performed a cohort study to determine the effect of the addition of fusion in terms of patient satisfaction after decompressive spinal surgery in patients with and without a degenerative spondylolisthesis.

The National Swedish Register for Spine Surgery (Swespine) was used for the study. Data were obtained for all patients in the register who underwent surgery for stenosis on one or two adjacent lumbar levels. A total of 5390 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria and completed a two-year follow-up. Using multivariable models the results of 4259 patients who underwent decompression alone were compared with those of 1131 who underwent decompression and fusion. The consequence of having an associated spondylolisthesis in the operated segments pre-operatively was also considered.

At two years there was no significant difference in patient satisfaction between the two treatment groups for any of the outcome measures, regardless of the presence of a pre-operative spondylolisthesis. Moreover, the proportion of patients who required subsequent further lumbar surgery was also similar in the two groups.

In this large cohort the addition of fusion to decompression was not associated with an improved outcome.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:960–5.