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World Neurosurg. 2018 Mar;111:e165-e177. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.12.009. Epub 2017 Dec 14.

Decompression Alone Versus Decompression and Fusion for Lumbar Degenerative Spondylolisthesis: A Meta-Analysis.

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Department of Spine Surgery, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Department of Spine Surgery, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. Electronic address:



To compare the effectiveness and safety of decompression alone (D group) with decompression and fusion (DF group) for patients who were diagnosed with lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis (LDS).


Electronic databases were searched for relevant studies that compared decompression alone with decompression and fusion for LDS. Then, data extraction and quality assessment were conducted, and the extracted data were analyzed by using RevMan 5.3. We used the random effects model for studies that had heterogeneity between them, and for those without heterogeneity, the fixed model was used.


Four randomized controlled trials and 14 nonrandomized controlled studies involving 77,994 patients were included for this meta-analysis. Although the DF group was associated with a higher postoperative change score on a visual analog scale compared with the D group in terms of back (P = 0.02) and leg (P = 0.04), they failed to reach the minimum clinically important difference. Moreover, no significant differences were found in Oswestry Disability Index, European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions, Short-Form 36 physical and mental component summaries score, and patients' satisfaction (P > 0.05) between treatment groups. Complication rate and reoperation rate (P > 0.05) were similar in both groups. Data analysis also showed that the DF group was associated with longer operation time (P < 0.00001), more intraoperative blood loss (P < 0.00001), and longer length of hospital stay (P < 0.00001).


Among patients with LDS, decompression and fusion surgery did not yield better clinical outcomes than decompression alone surgery. Also, the complication rate and reoperation rate were comparable between treatment groups. However, patients who had undergone decompression alone had shorter operation time, less intraoperative blood loss, and shorter hospital stay.


Decompression; Fusion; Lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis; Meta-analysis

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