Adjacent segment degeneration and topping off. Never stop at the apex!

We investigated if applying the Transition system (Globus Medical Inc., Audubon, PA, USA) as topping off can prevent Adjacent Segment Degeneration (ASD) and if rate of ASD is increased if instrumentation stopped at the apex of the Lumbar Lordosis (LL). We enrolled 99 consecutive patients in a retrospective study who have been operated by instrumented fusion of the lumbar spine. Thirty patients were treated by topping of (Group 1), 69 patients received the standard procedure (Group 2). 18 patients of group 1 (60%) and 38 patients of group 2 (55%) developed ASD. The difference was not significant (P>0.05). In 17 patients (17%) instrumentation stopped at apex of LL. 14/17 patients (82%) developed an ASD. This influence was significant (P<0.05). Instrumented fusion of the lumbar spine should not stop at the apex of the lumbar curve. Topping off by hybrid dynamic fixation does not reduce the rate of ASD.

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