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Papers of the Week

2021 Apr 06




Initial Experience With a Full Endoscopic Facet Fusion in Combination With Endoscopic Interbody Fusion.



Background Facet fusion has been described in open and minimally invasive approaches to promote fusion. Our objective is to describe the technique of an endoscopic facet decortication and allograft placement as an adjunct to an interbody fusion. Methodology This was a descriptive analysis of patients who underwent endoscopic interbody fusion combined with facet fusion and percutaneous screw placement. General demographics, clinical presentation, length of stay, follow-up, and outcome were gathered. The technique involves endoscopic access to the Kambin's triangle, discectomy/endplate preparation, expandable cage/allograft insertion, and percutaneous pedicle screw placement. A midline incision was performed, and the endoscope was advanced over the facet joints at the desired level. After removing the soft tissue with grasping forceps, cautery was used to disrupt the facet capsule. An articulating high-speed bur was used to drill inside and over the dorsal surface of the joint. Finally, allograft chips were placed through the endoscope cannula. Results From May 2019 to December 2019, four patients underwent endoscopic interbody fusion. All were female, with a mean age of 67.5 years (SD: 12.7). All had chronic low back pain and radiculopathy associated with Grade 1 spondylolisthesis. Two (50%) of the patients underwent two-level fusion. The median hospital stay was two days. Two (50%) reported improvement of both low back and radiculopathy symptoms. None of the patients had a significant complication or required reoperation in eight months' mean follow-up. Conclusions Facet decortication and allograft placement are feasible using an endoscopic approach in conjunction with interbody fusion.