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Surgical management of high-grade paediatric spondylolisthesis: meta-analysis and systematic review

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There is currently no consensus on the management of high-grade spondylolisthesis (HGS) in paediatric populations. The objective of this analysis is to compare the outcomes of reduction followed by fusion (RFF) or in situ fusion (ISF) in paediatric patients.


Using major databases, a systematic literature search was performed. Primary studies comparing ISF with RFF in paediatric and adolescent patients were identified. Study data including patient-reported outcomes, complications, and spinopelvic parameters were collected and analysed.


Seven studies were included, comprising 97 ISF and 131 RFF. Average patient age was 14.4 ± 2.1 years and follow up was 8.2 ± 5.1 years. Patients undergoing RFF compared to patients undergoing ISF alone were less likely to develop pseudarthrosis (RR 0.51, 95% CI, [0.26, 0.99], p = 0.05). On average, RFF led to 11.97º more reduction in slip angle and 34.8% more reduction in sagittal translation (p < 0.00001) compared to ISF. There was no significant difference between patient satisfaction and pain at follow up. Neurologic complications and reoperation rates were not significantly different.


Both RFF and ISF are effective techniques for managing HGS. Performing a reduction followed by fusion reduces the likelihood of pseudarthrosis in paediatric patients. The difference between risk of neurologic complications, need for reoperation, patient satisfaction, and pain outcomes did not reach statistical significance. Correlation with patient-reported outcomes still needs to be further explored.

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Meta-analysis of Level 3 studies.

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Correspondence to David E. Lebel.

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Koucheki, R., Rocos, B., Gandhi, R. et al. Surgical management of high-grade paediatric spondylolisthesis: meta-analysis and systematic review. Eur Spine J 32, 436–446 (2023).

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