STUDY DESIGN:
A retrospective observational study.

OBJECTIVE:
To assess clinical outcomes, perioperative complications, revision surgery rates, and recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2)-related osteolysis, heterotopic bone, and unexplained postoperative radiculitis (BMPP) in a group of patients treated with BMP-2-augmented transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (bTLIF) for the homogeneous diagnosis of discogenic pain syndrome (DPS) and to put forth the algorithm used to make the diagnosis.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:
There is a paucity of literature describing outcomes of TLIF for the homogeneous diagnosis of DPS, an old but controversial member of the lumbar degenerative disease family.

METHODS:
The registry from a single surgeon was queried for patients who had undergone bTLIF for the homogeneous diagnosis of DPS, which was made via specific diagnostic algorithm. Clinical outcomes were determined by analyzing point improvement from typical outcome questionnaires and the data from Patient Satisfaction and Return to Work questionnaires. Independent record review was used to assess all outcomes.

RESULTS:
Eighty percent of the cohort (36/45) completed preoperative and postoperative outcome questionnaires at an average follow-up of 41.9 ± 11.9 months, which demonstrated significant clinical improvement: Oswestry Disability Index = 16.4 (P < 0.0001), 12-Item Short Form Health Survey physical component summary score = 10.0 (P < 0.0001), and a Numeric Rating Scale for back pain = 2.3 (P < 0.0001). The median patient satisfaction score was 9.0 (10 = complete satisfaction), and 84.4% (27/32) of the cohort were able to return to their preoperative job, with or without modification. There were 3 perioperative complications, 4 revision surgical procedures, and 11 cases of benign BMPP. There were no incidents of the intraoperative dural tears or nerve root injury, and litigation involvement (11/36, P > 0.17), preoperative depression (15/36, P > 0.19) or prior discectomy/decompression (14/36, P < 0.37) was not a predictor of outcomes.

CONCLUSION:
Although limited by retrospective design and small cohort, the results of this investigation suggest that bTLIF is a reasonable treatment option for patients who experience DPS and affords high patient satisfaction. A larger study is needed to confirm these findings.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:
4.





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