Cotrel-dubousset Instrumentation: AIS

ScoliosisJournal recently reported about Cotrel-dubousset instrumentation for the correction of AIS. Long term results with an unexpected high revision rate.

Authors: Franz Mueller and Herbert Gluch

Background
For many years, the CD instrumentation has been regarded as the standard device for the surgical correction of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Nevertheless, scientific long-term results on this procedure are rare. Therefore, we conducted a retrospective follow-up study of patients treated for AIS with CD instrumentation and spondylodesis.

Methods
A total of 40 patients with AIS underwent CD instrumentation in our department within 3 years and between 1990 and 1992. For the retrospective analysis, first all the patient documents were reviewed, and pre-/postoperative X-ray images as well as those at the latest follow-up were analysed. Furthermore, it was attempted to conduct a clinical survey using the SRS-24 questionnaire, which was sent to the patients after a preceding announcement on the phone.

Results
Radiologically, the frontal main curvature was improved from a preoperative angle of 69.2degrees to a postoperative angle of 35.4degrees, and the secondary curvature was improved from a preoperative angle of 42.6degrees to a postoperative angle of 20.5degrees. The latest radiological followup at average 57.4 months post surgery showed an average loss of correction of 9.6degrees (main curvature) and 4.6degrees (secondary curvature), respectively.Within the first 30 days post surgery, 3 out of 40 patients (7.5%) received early operative revision for the dislocation of hooks or rods.At an average of 45.7 months (range 11 to 142 months), 19 out of 40 patients (47.5%; including 2 patients with early revision) received late operative revisions: The reasons were late infection (10 out of 40 patients; 25%) with the development of fistulae (7 cases) or putrid secretion (3 cases), which was resolved with the complete removal of instrumentation after all. The average time until revision was 35.5 months (range 14 to 56 months) after CD instrumentation. Furthermore, complete implant removal was necessary in 8 out of 40 patients (20%) for late operate site pain (LOSP). The average time until removal of instrumentation was 62.7 months (range 18 to 146 months) post surgery; and one patient received partial device removal for prominent instrumentation 11 months post surgery. Altogether, only 22 out of 40 CD instrumentations (55%) were still in situ. After an average period of 14.3 years post surgery, it was possible to follow-up 14 out of 40 patients (35%) using the SRS-24 questionnaire. The average score was 93 points, without showing significant differences between patients with or without their instrumentation in situ.

Conclusions
Retrospectively, we documented for the first time a very high revisions rate in patients with AIS and treated by CD instrumentation. Nearly half of the instrumentation had to be removed due to late infection and LOSP. The reasons for the high rate of late infections with or without fistulae and for LOSP were analysed and discussed in detail.

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