Single-level fusion without decompression for high-grade spondylolithesis in adolescents: a novel surgical strategy

Pouya Alijanipour, Michael J. Heffernan, Andrew G.S. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: There is no consensus on the optimal surgical treatment for high-grade spondylolisthesis (HGS) in adolescents. The purpose of this study was to assess the radiographic and clinical outcomes of a novel surgical approach to HGS consisting of a single-level anterior reduction, placement of a lordotic cage, and circumferential fixation without decompression. Methods: This was a retrospective consecutive case series of 11 adolescents who underwent anterior reduction through placement of a lordotic cage followed by posterior fusion using pedicle screws and rods confined to L5–S1. Radiographic data included slip percentage, slip angle, lumbar lordosis, and pelvic sagittal parameters assessed at clinical visits preoperatively and at 2 years postoperatively. A telephone survey was conducted to obtain current information about function, activity level, work status, and retrograde ejaculation. Results: Patients were followed for an average of 7.8 years (range 2–16). Mean age was 15.5 years (range 12–19). The mean percent slip corrected from 55 to 18%. The average slip angle was + 17.1° preoperatively and − 14.1° at final assessment (average correction of 20.7°). Thirty-six percent (4/11) of patients improved by three Meyerding grades and an additional 55% (6/11) improved by two grades. Complications included one instance each of superficial infection, wound dehiscence, and transient neuralgia. There were no cases of instrumentation failure, cage subsidence, pseudoarthrosis, or retrograde ejaculation. Radiographic evidence of fusion was observed in all cases. Conclusion: Single-level anterior reduction and circumferential fusion without decompression appears to be a safe and effective alternative for the surgical treatment of pediatric HGS. Level of evidence: IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1457-1464
Number of pages8
JournalSpine Deformity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Complications
  • High-grade spondylolisthesis
  • Slip angle
  • Surgical technique
  • Vertebral slippage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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