Tandem spinal stenosis

Tandem spinal stenosis

Tandem spinal stenosis (TSS) is a degenerative spinal condition characterized by spinal canal narrowing at 2 or more distinct spinal levels. It is an aging-related condition that is likely to increase as the population ages, but which remains poorly described in the literature.

It is a common condition present in up to 60% of patients with spinal stenosis. This disorder, however, is often overlooked, which can lead to serious complications. Identification of tandem spinal stenosis is paramount as a first step in management and, although there is still no preferred intervention, both staged and simultaneous procedures have been shown to be effective. Surgeons may utilize a single, staged, or combined approach to decompression, always addressing cervical myelopathy as a priority 1).

The purpose of a study of van Eck et al. was to develop a simple and clinically useful morphological classification system for congenital lumbar spinal stenosis using sagittal MRI, allowing clinicians to recognize patterns of lumbar congenital stenosis quickly and be able to screen these patients for tandem cervical stenosis.

Forty-four subjects with an MRI of both the cervical and lumbar spine were included. On the lumbar spine MRI, the sagittal canal morphology was classified as one of three types: Type I normal, Type II partially narrow, Type III globally narrow. For the cervical spine, the Torg-Pavlov ratio on X-ray and the cervical spinal canal width on MRI were measured. Kruskal-Wallis analysis was done to determine if there was a relationship between the sagittal morphology of the lumbar spinal canal and the presence of cervical spinal stenosis.

Subjects with a type III globally narrow lumbar spinal canal had a significantly lower cervical Torg-Pavlov ratio and smaller cervical spinal canal width than those with a type I normal lumbar spinal canal.

A type III lumbar spinal canal is a globally narrow canal characterized by a lack of spinal fluid around the conus. This was defined as “functional lumbar spinal stenosis” and is associated with an increased incidence of tandem cervical spinal stenosis 2).


Pennington et al. sought to determine the impact of primary lumbar decompression on quality of life (QOL) outcomes in patients with symptomatic TSS.

They retrospectively reviewed 803 patients with clinical and radiographic evidence of TSS treated between 2008 and 2014 with a minimum 2-year follow-up. The records of patients with clinical and radiographic evidence of concurrent cervical and lumbar stenosis were reviewed. Prospectively gathered QOL data, including the Pain Disability Questionnaire (PDQ), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), EuroQOL-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D), and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for low back pain, were assessed at the 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year follow-ups.

Of 803 identified patients (mean age 66.2 years; 46.9% male), 19.6% underwent lumbar decompression only, 14.1% underwent cervical + lumbar decompression, and 66.4% underwent conservative management only. Baseline VAS scores were similar across all groups, but patients undergoing conservative management had better baseline QOL scores on all other measures. Both surgical cohorts experienced significant improvements in the VAS, PDQ, and EQ-5D at all time points; patients in the cervical + lumbar cohort also had significant improvement in the PHQ-9. Conservatively managed patients showed no significant improvement in QOL scores at any follow-up interval.

Lumbar decompression with or without cervical decompression improves low back pain and QOL outcomes in patients with TSS. The decision to prioritize lumbar decompression is therefore unlikely to adversely affect long-term quality-of-life improvements 3).


Cervical spine surgery with or without follow-up lumbar spine surgery significantly improves neck pain in patients with TSS. In contrast, cervical spine surgery in these patients does not improve lumbar symptoms. Lumbar spine surgery also did not improve low back pain or quality of life. Future prospective studies are necessary to examine the impact of lumbar decompression alone on cervical spine symptoms in patients with TSS4).

References

1)

Overley SC, Kim JS, Gogel BA, Merrill RK, Hecht AC. Tandem Spinal Stenosis: A Systematic Review. JBJS Rev. 2017 Sep;5(9):e2. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.17.00007. Review. PubMed PMID: 28872572.
2)

van Eck CF, Spina Iii NT, Lee JY. A novel MRI classification system for congenital functional lumbar spinal stenosis predicts the risk for tandem cervical spinal stenosis. Eur Spine J. 2017 Feb;26(2):368-373. doi: 10.1007/s00586-016-4657-3. Epub 2016 Jun 20. PubMed PMID: 27323965.
3)

Pennington Z, Alentado VJ, Lubelski D, Alvin MD, Levin JM, Benzel EC, Mroz TE. Quality of life changes after lumbar decompression in patients with tandem spinal stenosis. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2019 Jul 26;184:105455. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2019.105455. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31376775.
4)

Alvin MD, Alentado VJ, Lubelski D, Benzel EC, Mroz TE. Cervical spine surgery for tandem spinal stenosis: The impact on low back pain. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2018 Mar;166:50-53. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2018.01.024. PubMed PMID: 29408772.

Lumbar spinal stenosis risk factors

Lumbar spinal stenosis risk factors

Risk factors for the disease include some comorbidities such as obesity or smoking, daily habits such as an active lifestyle, but also genetic factors that are not completely elucidated yet 1).

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is frequently observed in obese patients and the elderly especially due to the aging of the spine.

Increased Spinal inclination angle (SIA) and Body Mass Index BMI might be the most relevant risk factors for LSS 2).

DM and low ankle-brachial index values (ABI)s are significantly associated with sLSS in patients with moderate radiographic stenosis. Neither factor is associated with sLSS in patients with severe stenosis. Notably, the effects of intrinsic factors on symptomology may be masked when anatomic stenosis is severe 3).


Kitab et al., performed a re-analysis of data from their previously reported prospective MRI-based study, stratifying data from the 709 cases into 3 age categories of equal size (instead of the original < 60 vs ≥ 60 years). Relative lumbar spinal canal dimensions, as well as radiological degenerative variables from L1 to S1, were analyzed across age groups in a multivariate mode. The total degenerative scale score (TDSS) for each lumbar segment from L1 to S1 was calculated for each patient. The relationships between age and qualitative stenosis grades, TDSS, disc degeneration, and facet degeneration were analyzed using Pearson’s product-moment correlation and multiple regression.

Multivariate analysis of TDSS and spinal canal dimensions revealed highly significant differences across the 3 age groups at L2-3 and L3-4 and a weaker, but still significant, association with changes at L5-S1. Age helped to explain only 9.6% and 12.2% of the variance in TDSS at L1-2 and L2-3, respectively, with a moderate positive correlation, and 7.8%, 1.2%, and 1.9% of the variance in TDSS at L3-4, L4-5, and L5-S1, respectively, with weak positive correlation. Age explained 24%, 26%, and 18.4% of the variance in lumbar intervertebral disc (LID) degeneration at L1-2, L2-3, and L3-4, respectively, while it explained only 6.2% and 7.2% of the variance of LID degeneration at L4-5 and L5-S1, respectively. Age explained only 2.5%, 4.0%, 1.2%, 0.8%, and 0.8% of the variance in facet degeneration at L1-2, L2-3, L3-4, L4-5, and L5-S1, respectively.

Age at presentation correlated weakly with degeneration variables and spinal canal morphometries in LSS segments. Age correlated with upper lumbar segment (L1-4) degeneration more than with lower segment (L4-S1) degeneration. The actual chronological age of the patients did not significantly correlate with the extent of degenerative pathology of the lumbar spinal stenosis segments. These study results lend support for a developmental contribution to LSS 4).

References

1)

Bagley C, MacAllister M, Dosselman L, Moreno J, Aoun S, El Ahmadieh T. Current concepts and recent advances in understanding and managing lumbar spine stenosis. F1000Res. 2019 Jan 31;8. pii: F1000 Faculty Rev-137. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.16082.1. eCollection 2019. Review. PubMed PMID: 30774933; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6357993.
2)

Hirano K, Imagama S, Hasegawa Y, Muramoto A, Ishiguro N. Impact of spinal imbalance and BMI on lumbar spinal canal stenosis determined by a diagnostic support tool: cohort study in community‑living people. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2013 Nov;133(11):1477-82. doi: 10.1007/s00402-013-1832-4. PubMed PMID: 23959069.
3)

Maeda T, Hashizume H, Yoshimura N, Oka H, Ishimoto Y, Nagata K, Takami M, Tsutsui S, Iwasaki H, Minamide A, Nakagawa Y, Yukawa Y, Muraki S, Tanaka S, Yamada H, Yoshida M. Factors associated with lumbar spinal stenosis in a large-scale, population-based cohort: The Wakayama Spine Study. PLoS One. 2018 Jul 18;13(7):e0200208. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200208. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 30020970; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6051614.
4)

Kitab S, Habboub G, Abdulkareem SB, Alimidhatti MB, Benzel E. Redefining lumbar spinal stenosis as a developmental syndrome: does age matter? J Neurosurg Spine. 2019 May 17:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2019.2.SPINE181383. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31100722.

Lumbar spinal stenosis case series

Lumbar spinal stenosis case series

Nine hundred and eighteen patients of the Acıbadem Fulya Hospital and Acıbadem Taksim Hospital were treated for single or multilevel lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) by bilateral decompression via unilateral approach (BDUA) between January 2002 and January 2016. 180 patients of the 918 underwent microdiscectomy with decompression. They were then followed up postoperatively, at 6 and 12 months with radiological investigations, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36) tests.

Four hundred and ninety-two patients were females (53,6%), four hundred and twenty six were males (46,4) whose mean age was 63,83±10,16 (range: 43-79 years). Duration of symptoms ranged from 4 to 49 months. Average follow-up time was 98 months (range 25-168 months) and the reoperation rate (RR) was 2,5%. The ODI scores decreased significantly (30.65± 7.82, to 11.32 ± 2.50 at six months and 11.30 ± 2.49 at first year) and the SF-36 parameter scores demonstrated a significant improvement in the early and late follow-up results.

BDUA for LSS allowed a sufficient and safe decompression of the neural structures, resulted in a highly significant reduction of the symptoms and disability, acceptable RR, and improved health-related quality of life 1).


A successive series of 102 patients with lumbar spinal stenosis from Aachen (with and without previous lumbar surgery) were treated with decompression alone during a 3-year period. Data on pre- and postoperative back pain and leg pain (numerical rating scale [NRS] scale) were retrospectively collected from questionnaires with a return rate of 65% (n = 66). The complete cohort as well as patients with first-time surgery and re-decompression were analyzed separately. Patients were dichotomized to short-term follow-up (< 100 weeks) and long-term follow-up (> 100 weeks) postsurgery.

Overall, both back pain (NRS 4.59 postoperative versus 7.89 preoperative; p < 0.0001) and leg pain (NRS 4.09 versus 6.75; p < 0.0001) improved postoperatively. The short-term follow-up subgroup (50%, n = 33) showed a significant reduction in back pain (NRS 4.0 versus 6.88; p < 0.0001) and leg pain (NRS 2.49 versus 6.91: p < 0.0001). Similar results could be observed for the long-term follow-up subgroup (50%, n = 33) with significantly less back pain (NRS 3.94 versus 7.0; p < 0.0001) and leg pain (visual analog scale 3.14 versus 5.39; p < 0.002) postoperatively. Patients with previous decompression surgery benefit significantly regarding back pain (NRS 4.82 versus 7.65; p < 0.0024), especially in the long-term follow-up subgroup (NRS 4.75 versus 7.67; p < 0.0148). There was also a clear trend in favor of leg pain in patients with previous surgery; however, it was not significant.

Decompression of lumbar spinal stenosis without fusion led to a significant and similar reduction of back pain and leg pain in a short-term and a long-term follow-up group. Patients without previous surgery benefited significantly better, whereas patients with previous decompression benefited regarding back pain, especially for long-term follow-up with a clear trend in favor of leg pain 2).


A total of 25 patients between May 2015 and June 2016 affected by radiologically demonstrated one-level lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) with facet joint degeneration and grade I spondylolisthesis were included in this prospective study. All the patients underwent laminectomyforaminotomy, and one-level facet fixation (Facet-Link, Inc., Rockaway, New Jersey, United States). Pre- and postoperative clinical (Oswestry Disability Index[ODI], Short Form 36 [SF-36]) and radiologic (radiographs, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography) data were collected and analyzed.

Mean follow-up was 12 months. The L4L5 level was involved in 18 patients (72%) and L5S1 in 7 patients (28%); the average operative time was 80 minutes (range: 65-148 minutes), and the mean blood loss was 160 mL (range: 90-200 mL). ODI and SF-36 showed a statistically significant (p < 0.05) improvement at last follow-up.

Transfacet fixation is a safe and effective treatment option in patients with single-level LSS, facet joint degeneration, and mild instability 3).

2017

A retrospective matched-pair cohort study included a total of 144 patients who underwent surgery for bisegmental spinal stenosis at the levels L3-4 and L4-5 between 2008 and 2012. There were 72 matching pairs that corresponded in sex, year of birth, and width of the stenosed segments. The patients’ impairments were reported before, immediately after, and 6 and 12 months after surgery using the Oswestry Disability Questionnaire (ODQ-D) and the EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D). The data were evaluated statistically. Results The comparison of both surgical procedures regarding walking ability (walking a distance with and without a walking aid) revealed a significant difference. Patients who underwent hemilaminectomy had better postoperative results. The individual criteria of the ODQ-D and EQ-5D revealed no significant differences between 2-level fenestration and hemilaminectomy; however, there is always significant postoperative improvement in comparison with preoperative status. Age, sex, body mass index, comorbidities, smoking, and alcohol consumption had no influence on the surgical results. The reoperation rate was between 13% and 15% for both surgical techniques, not being significantly different. Conclusion Fenestration and hemilaminectomy are equivalent therapies for bisegmental lumbar spinal canal stenosis. Regarding walking, the study revealed better results for hemilaminectomy than for fenestration in this cohort of patients. Pain intensity, personal care, lifting and carrying of objects, sitting, social life, and travel all improved significantly postoperatively as compared with preoperatively. In both groups, health status as the decisive predictor improved considerably after surgery. We could show that both surgical methods result in significant postoperative improvement of all the individual criteria of the ODQ-D and the EQ-5D 4).

2016

726 patients with lumbar stenosis (without spondylolisthesis or scoliosis) and a baseline back pain score ≥ 5 of 10 who underwent surgical decompression only. No patient was reported to have significant spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, or sagittal malalignment. Standard demographic and surgical variables were collected, as well as patient outcomes including back and leg pain scores, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and EuroQoL 5D (EQ-5D) at baseline and 3 and 12 months postoperatively. RESULTS The mean age of the cohort was 65.6 years, and 407 (56%) patients were male. The mean body mass index was 30.2 kg/m2, and 40% of patients had 2-level decompression, 29% had 3-level decompression, 24% had 1-level decompression, and 6% had 4-level decompression. The mean estimated blood loss was 130 ml. The mean operative time was 100.85 minutes. The vast majority of discharges (88%) were routine home discharges. At 3 and 12 months postoperatively, there were significant improvements from baseline for back pain (7.62 to 3.19 to 3.66), leg pain (7.23 to 2.85 to 3.07), EQ-5D (0.55 to 0.76 to 0.75), and ODI (49.11 to 27.20 to 26.38). CONCLUSIONS Through the 1st postoperative year, patients with lumbar stenosis-without spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, or sagittal malalignment-and clinically significant back pain improved after decompression-only surgery 5).

2015

88 patients with LSS (47 men and 41 women) who ranged in age from 39 to 86 years (mean age 68.7 years). All patients had undergone microendoscopic laminotomy at Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine from May 2008 through October 2012. The minimum duration of clinical and radiological follow-up was 6 months. All patients were evaluated by Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for low back painleg pain, and leg numbness before and after surgery.

The distance between the C7 plumb line and the posterior corner of the sacrum (sagittal vertical axis [SVA]) was measured on lateral standing radiographs of the entire spine obtained before surgery.

Radiological factors and clinical outcomes were compared between patients with a preoperative SVA ≥ 50 mm (forward-bending trunk [F] group) and patients with a preoperative SVA < 50 mm (control [C] group).

A total of 35 patients were allocated to the F group (19 male and 16 female) and 53 to the C group (28 male and 25 female).

The mean SVA was 81.0 mm for patients in the F group and 22.0 mm for those in the C group. At final follow-up evaluation, no significant differences between the groups were found for the JOA score improvement ratio (73.3% vs 77.1%) or the VAS score for leg numbness (23.6 vs 24.0 mm); the VAS score for low-back pain was significantly higher for those in the F group (21.1 mm) than for those in the C group (11.0 mm); and the VAS score for leg pain tended to be higher for those in the F group (18.9 ± 29.1 mm) than for those in the C group (9.4 ± 16.0 mm).

Preoperative alignment of the spine in the sagittal plane did not affect JOA scores after microendoscopic laminotomy in patients with LSS. However, low-back pain was worse for patients with preoperative anterior translation of the C-7 plumb line than for those without 6).

References

1)

Yüce İ, Kahyaoğlu O, Çavuşoğlu HA, Çavuşoğlu H, Aydın Y. Long term clinical outcome and reoperation rate for microsurgical bilateral decompression via unilateral approach of lumbar spinal stenosis. World Neurosurg. 2019 Jan 30. pii: S1878-8750(19)30203-7. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2019.01.105. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30710724.
2)

Geiger MF, Bongartz N, Blume C, Clusmann H, Müller CA. Improvement of Back and Leg Pain after Lumbar Spinal Decompression without Fusion. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2018 Dec 5. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1669473. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30517963.
3)

Trungu S, Pietrantonio A, Forcato S, Tropeano MP, Martino L, Raco A. Transfacet Screw Fixation for the Treatment of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis with Mild Instability: A Preliminary Study. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2018 Sep;79(5):358-364. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1655760. Epub 2018 Jul 16. PubMed PMID: 30011420.
4)

Schüppel J, Weber F. Retrospective Matched-Pair Cohort Study on Effect of Bisegmental Fenestration versus Hemilaminectomy for Bisegmental Spinal Canal Stenosis at L3-L4 and L4-L5. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg. 2017 Jan 9. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1597617. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28068753.
5)

Crawford CH 3rd, Glassman SD, Mummaneni PV, Knightly JJ, Asher AL. Back pain improvement after decompression without fusion or stabilization in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and clinically significant preoperative back pain. J Neurosurg Spine. 2016 Nov;25(5):596-601. PubMed PMID: 27285666.
6)

Dohzono S, Toyoda H, Matsumoto T, Suzuki A, Terai H, Nakamura H. The influence of preoperative spinal sagittal balance on clinical outcomes after microendoscopic laminotomy in patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis. J Neurosurg Spine. 2015 Jul;23(1):49-54. doi: 10.3171/2014.11.SPINE14452. Epub 2015 Apr 3. PubMed PMID: 25840041.
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