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The long-term results of fusion in situ for severe spondylolisthesis

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The long-term results of 17 patients who had had fusion in situ for severe lumbosacral spondylolisthesis are reported. The average follow-up was 14 years with a range of 7 to 20 years. The average age at operation was 16 years. At follow-up seven patients had occasional backache but only one patient had changed his job and no patient had lost any time off work in the previous year. Nine patients felt that their deformity had been improved and all but one patient still rated the results as excellent up to 20 years after the operation. Although all the patients had persistent foreshortening of the trunk only two patients were aware of any cosmetic deformity. There had been no significant increase in forward slip since the previous follow-up examination five years after the operation. There were no late complications nor significant degenerative changes in the lumbar spine. It is concluded that although fusion in situ does little to improve cosmesis very few patients complain about their appearance and that it is a safe and reliable method of treatment for severe spondylolisthesis which has stood the test of time.

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