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J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2009 Oct;46(4):292-9. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2009.46.4.292. Epub 2009 Oct 31.

Minimum 2-year follow-up result of degenerative spinal stenosis treated with interspinous u (coflex).

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Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.



Clinical and radiological results of posterior dynamic stabilization using interspinous U (ISU, Coflex, Paradigm Spine Inc.(R), NY, USA) were analyzed in comparison with posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) in degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).


A retrospective study was conducted for a consecutive series of 61 patients with degenerative LSS between May 2003 and December 2005. We included only the patients completed minimum 24 months follow up evaluation. Among them, 30 patients were treated with implantation of ISU after decompressive laminectomy (Group ISU) and 31 patients were treated with wide decompressive laminectomy and posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF; Group PLIF). We evaluated visual analogue scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for clinical outcomes (VAS, ODI), disc height ratio disc height (DH), disc height/vertebral body length x100), static vertebral slip (VS) and depth of maximal radiolucent gap between ISU and spinous process) in preoperative, immediate postoperative and last follow up.


The mean age of group ISU (66.2 +/- 6.7 years) was 6.2 years older than the mean age of group PLIF (60.4 +/- 8.1 years; p = 0.003 ). In both groups, clinical measures improved significantly than preoperative values (p < 0.001). Operation time and blood loss was significantly shorter and lower in group ISU than group PLIF (p < 0.001). In group ISU, the DH increased transiently in immediate postoperative period (15.7 +/- 4.5% --> 18.6 +/- 5.9%), however decreased significantly in last follow up (13.8 +/- 6.6%, p = 0.027). Vertebral slip (VS) of spondylolisthesis in group ISU increased during postoperative follow-up (2.3 +/- 3.3 --> 8.7 +/- 6.2, p = 0.040). Meanwhile, the postoperatively improved DH and VS was maintained in group PLIF in last follow up.


According to our result, implantation of ISU after decompressive laminectomy in degenerative LSS is less invasive and provides similar clinical outcome in comparison with the instrumented fusion. However, the device has only transient effect on the postoperative restoration of disc height and reduction of slip in spondylolisthesis. Therefore, in the biomechanical standpoint, it is hard to expect that use of Interspinous U in decompressive laminectomy for degenerative LSS had long term beneficial effect.


Coflex™; Degenerative spinal stenosis; Dynamic stabilization; Interspinous U; Lumbar; Posterior lumbar interbody fusion

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