J. C. Le Huec, S. Seresti, S. Bourret, T. Cloche, J. Monteiro, A. Cirullo, P. Roussouly

February 2020, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 22 - 38 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06314-w

First Online: 29 January 2020


To make a literature review on spinal stenosis recurrence after a first surgery and edit rules to avoid this complication.


We conducted two separate PUBMED searches to evaluate the revision post-stenosis and degenerative scoliosis surgery using the terms: lumbar vertebrae/surgery, spinal stenosis, spine, scoliosis and reoperation. The resulting papers were categorized into three groups: (1) those that evaluated reoperation post-simple decompression; (2) those that evaluated spinal decompression and fusion for short (3 levels or less) or long (more than 3 levels) segment spinal fusion; and (3) those diagnosing the stenosis during the surgery.


(1) We found 11 relevant papers that only looked at revision spine surgery post-laminectomy for spinal stenosis. (2) We found 20 papers looked at reoperation post-laminectomy and fusion amongst which there were two papers specifically comparing long-segment (> 3 level) and short-segment (3 or less levels) fusions. (3) In the unspecified group, we found only one article. Fifteen articles were excluded as they were not specifically looking at our objective criteria for revision surgery. In regard to revision post-adult deformity surgery, we found 18 relevant articles.


After this literature review and analysis of post-operative stenosis, it seems important to provide some advice to avoid revision surgeries more or less induced by the surgery. It looks interesting when performing simple decompression without fusion in the lumbar spine to analyse the risk of instability induced by the decompression and facet resection but also by a global balance analysis. Regarding pre-operative stenosis in a previously operated area, different causes may be evocated, like screw or cage malpositionning but also insufficient decompression which is a common cause. Intraoperatively, the use of neuromonitoring and intraoperative CT scan with navigation are useful tool in complex cases to avoid persisting stenosis. Pre-op analysis and planning are key parameters to decrease post-op problems.

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