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09.12.2015 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2016

European Spine Journal 5/2016

An RCT study comparing the clinical and radiological outcomes with the use of PLIF or TLIF after instrumented reduction in adult isthmic spondylolisthesis

European Spine Journal > Ausgabe 5/2016
Er-Zhu Yang, Jian-Guang Xu, Xiao-Kang Liu, Gen-Yang Jin, Wenzhen Xiao, Bing-Fang Zeng, Xiao-Feng Lian



We prospectively compared posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) used in adult isthmic spondylolisthesis (IS) after surgical reduction with pedicle screws.


Between January 2009 and December 2010, 66 adult patients with single-level IS were randomly assigned to two groups treated using the PLIF technique (PLIF group, n = 34) and the TLIF technique (TLIF group, n = 32). Both groups were followed up for an average of 30.5 months (range 24–48 months). Clinical outcomes were assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry disability index (ODI) and Japanese orthopedic association (JOA) scores. Radiographic outcomes included percentage of vertebral slippage, focal lordosis and disk height. Clinical and radiographic outcomes were compared between the two groups.


The average operative time and blood loss during surgery were significantly more in PLIF group than in TLIF group. Spondylolisthesis, disk height and focal lordosis were significantly improved postoperatively in both groups. There was no obvious difference in clinical outcomes, as assessed using the VAS, ODI and JOA scores, and radiographic outcomes. In PLIF group, there were two cases of neuropathic pain after surgery.


After instrumented reduction of adult IS, either PLIF or TLIF can provide good clinical and radiological outcomes. With a single cage, TLIF was superior to PLIF in terms of surgical time and blood loss, but these differences may not be clinically relevant.

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