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Long-term actuarial survivorship analysis of an interspinous stabilization system

By Jacques Sénégas, Jean-Marc Vital, Vincent Pointillart and Paolo Mangione


In 1986, an interspinous dynamic stabilization system (the prototype of the current Wallis implant) was designed to stiffen unstable operated degenerate lumbar segments with a hard interspinous blocker to limit extension and a tension band around the spinous processes to secure the implant and limit flexion. Restoring physiological mechanical conditions to the treated level(s) while preserving some intervertebral mobility was intended to treat low-back pain related to degenerative instability without increasing stress forces in the adjacent segments. The procedure was easily reversible. If low back pain persisted or recurred, the device was removed and stability was achieved using fusion. The intermediate-term results were promising, but the long-term safety and efficacy of this dynamic interspinous stabilization device has not been previously documented. We retrospectively reviewed the hospital files of all the patients (n = 241) who had this dynamic stabilization system implanted between 1987 and 1995, contacting as many as possible to determine the actuarial survivorship of the system. In this manner, 142 of the 241 patients (58.9%) were contacted by telephone. The endpoints used for the survivorship analysis were ‘any subsequent lumbar operation’ and ‘implant removal’. At 14 years follow-up, values of actuarial survivorship with 95% confidence interval were 75.9 ± 8.3 and 81.3 ± 6.8% for the endpoints ‘any subsequent lumbar operation’ and ‘implant removal’, respectively. There was no difference in survivorship of multiple-level implants with respect to single-level devices. Although the conclusions of the present study must be tempered by the 41% attrition rate, these findings support the long-term safety of this system, and possibly long-term protective action against adjacent-level degeneration by motion preservation. Outcomes at least equivalent to those of fusion were observed without the primary drawbacks of fusion

Topics: Ideas and Technical Innovations
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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