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Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society > Volume 43(3); 2008 > Article
Journal of Korean Neurosurgical Society 2008;43(3): 139-142.
doi: https://doi.org/10.3340/jkns.2008.43.3.139
Efficacy of Spinal Implant Removal After Thoracolumbar Junction Fusion.
Seok Won Kim, Chang Il Ju, Chong Gue Kim, Seung Myung Lee, Ho Shin
Department of Neurosurgery, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea. chosunns@hanmail.net
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of spinal implant removal and to determine the possible mechanisms of pain relief.
Fourteen patients with an average of 42 years (from 22 to 67 years) were retrospectively evaluated. All patients had posterior spinal instrumentation and fusion, who later developed recurrent back pain or persistent back pain despite a solid fusion mass. Patients' clinical charts, operative notes, and preoperative x-rays were evaluated. Relief of pain was evaluated by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) pain change after implant removal. Clinical outcome using VAS and modified MacNab's criteria was assessed on before implant removal, 1 month after implant removal and at the last clinical follow-up. Radiological analysis of sagittal alignment was also assessed.
Average follow-up period was 18 months (from 12 to 25 months). There were 4 patients who had persistent back pain at the surgical site and 10 patients who had recurrent back pain. The median time after the first fusion operation and the recurrence of pain was 6.5 months (from 3 to 13 months). All patients except one had palpation pain at operative site. The mean blood loss was less than 100ml and there were no major complications. The mean pain score before screw removal and at final follow up was 6.4 and 2.9, respectively (p<0.005). Thirteen of the 14 patients were graded as excellent and good according to modified MacNab's criteria. Overall 5.9 degrees of sagittal correction loss was observed at final follow up, but was not statistically significant.
For the patients with persistent or recurrent back pain after spinal instrumentation, removal of the spinal implant may be safe and an efficient procedure for carefully selected patients who have palpation pain and are unresponsive to conservative treatment.
Key Words: Spinal implant removal; Back pain
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