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. LEVEL 3 EVIDENCE: Meta-analysis of Level 3 studies.





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Koucheki, Robert, Brett Rocos, Rajiv Gandhi, Stephen J Lewis and David E Lebel (2023). Surgical management of high-grade paediatric spondylolisthesis: meta-analysis and systematic review. European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society, 32(2). pp. 436–446. 10.1007/s00586-022-07408-3 Retrieved from

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Brett Rocos

Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I joined the team at Duke University Health from London, UK, where I was a Consultant Adult and Paediatric Spine Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust and Honorary Consultant Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. I completed my surgical training in in the South West of the UK and at the University of Toronto, and am fellowship trained in adult spine surgery, paediatric spine surgery, orthopaedic trauma surgery, research and healthcare management.

I am driven to support patients at every stage of their care, from clinic assessment, through surgery to discharge. Making sure that every person, adult, child, family or friend understands what’s wrong, helping them to choose the right treatment for them, and what the recovery will be like is an important priority.

My research activity focusses on finding effective new treatments for spinal disorders and bringing them to patients. Focusing on spinal deformity, I have led investigations in the UK, Canada and the USA, and I sit on the Global AO Knowledge Forum for Deformity and the Research Grants Committee at the Scoliosis Research Society. I have lectured in North America and Europe about the treatment of spine disorders for the Scoliosis Research Society, Global Spine Congress, AO Spine and Eurospine, and I have worked hard to produce research that improves the care for spine patients wherever they live. Lastly, I review for several orthopaedic journals and I am Deputy Editor of the Bone and Joint 360, a leading publication with a global readership.

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