Management of Lumbar Spine Juxtafacet Cysts
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OBJECTIVE: We review a series of 21 patients with lumbar juxtafacet cysts (LJFCs) treated in two institutions. METHODS: The charts of 21 patients with a diagnosis of LJFCs during a 6- year period, January 2001 to December 2006, treated at Hamad Hospital, Doha, Qatar, and El Ribat University Hospital, Khartoum, Sudan, were reviewed. Demographic data, clinical and imaging findings, management, and outcome were reviewed. RESULTS: Twenty-one patients with 23 LJFCs were identified (14 men, 7 women) with a mean age of 54 years. All presented with back pain and radicular symptoms. Ten patients presented with neurogenic claudication due to spinal canal stenosis. All had magnetic resonance imaging and dynamic spine radiographs. Fourteen LJFCs were found at L4-5 level, 8 at L5-S1 level, and 1 at L3-4 level. Three patients had sustained improvement with conservative treatment and 17 patients underwent surgical management, mainly through a microsurgical approach. Nine of 10 patients with lumbar canal stenosis underwent decompressive laminectomy; one patient refused treatment. One patient with bilateral LJFCs and mobile spondylolisthesis underwent spinal fusion. All patients, except one, were followed up for a period of 12-72 months. CONCLUSIONS: LJFCs may lead to symptoms similar to degenerative disc disease. Surgery is reserved for symptomatic patients who do not improve satisfactorily with conservative treatment. The microsurgical approach is our preferred surgical method and spinal fusion should be reserved for patients with spinal instability. Long-term outcome with surgical treatment appears satisfactory.
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