Is it a requirement or a preference to use cross-links in lumbar instrumentation?
Should cross-links be used?
Keywords:Internal fixators, Pedicle screws, Pseudoarthrosis, Lumbar vertebrae
Background/Aim: The use of cross-links (CL) is controversial due to reasons such as cost increases and instrument redundancy. While there are many biomechanical studies, the clinical data is limited. The aim of this study is to present the clinical effects of CL by putting forward postoperative clinical outcomes and long-term results of patients with (CL+) and without (CL-) CL augmentation.
Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, patients who underwent lumbar posterior instrumentation with CL+ (n = 164) and without CL- (n = 111) augmentation were evaluated. Demographic data, surgical results, preoperative and postoperative visual analogue scale (VAS), the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) differences, and pseudoarthrosis and adjacent segment disease (ASD)-related recurrence for more than three years of follow-up were determined. Data of CL+ and CL- groups were compared.
Results: CL+ and CL- groups were similar in terms of age and gender (P = 0.319 and P = 0.777, respectively) There was no difference between the two groups in terms of bleeding amount, duration of surgery, and duration of hospitalization (P = 0.931, P = 0.669 and P = 0.518, respectively). Groups were similar in terms of VAS and ODI differences (P = 0.915 and P = 0.983, respectively), yet there was one case of infection in the CL+ group and two cases of infection detected in the CL- group. There were 13 ASDs in the CL+ group, and eight ASDs in the CL- group. Pseudoarthrosis was seen seven times in the CL+ group, while it was four in the CL- group.
Conclusion: It was observed that adding CL in patients who underwent lumbar instrumentation did not change the early period surgical results. The prevalence of complications was compatible with the scientific literature. In our study, there was no preventive advantage in terms of clinical or postoperative complications found in the use of CL.
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