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1.  Lumbar interbody fusion: techniques, indications and comparison of interbody fusion options including PLIF, TLIF, MI-TLIF, OLIF/ATP, LLIF and ALIF 
Journal of Spine Surgery  2015;1(1):2-18.
Degenerative disc and facet joint disease of the lumbar spine is common in the ageing population, and is one of the most frequent causes of disability. Lumbar spondylosis may result in mechanical back pain, radicular and claudicant symptoms, reduced mobility and poor quality of life. Surgical interbody fusion of degenerative levels is an effective treatment option to stabilize the painful motion segment, and may provide indirect decompression of the neural elements, restore lordosis and correct deformity. The surgical options for interbody fusion of the lumbar spine include: posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF), oblique lumbar interbody fusion/anterior to psoas (OLIF/ATP), lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) and anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF). The indications may include: discogenic/facetogenic low back pain, neurogenic claudication, radiculopathy due to foraminal stenosis, lumbar degenerative spinal deformity including symptomatic spondylolisthesis and degenerative scoliosis. In general, traditional posterior approaches are frequently used with acceptable fusion rates and low complication rates, however they are limited by thecal sac and nerve root retraction, along with iatrogenic injury to the paraspinal musculature and disruption of the posterior tension band. Minimally invasive (MIS) posterior approaches have evolved in an attempt to reduce approach related complications. Anterior approaches avoid the spinal canal, cauda equina and nerve roots, however have issues with approach related abdominal and vascular complications. In addition, lateral and OLIF techniques have potential risks to the lumbar plexus and psoas muscle. The present study aims firstly to comprehensively review the available literature and evidence for different lumbar interbody fusion (LIF) techniques. Secondly, we propose a set of recommendations and guidelines for the indications for interbody fusion options. Thirdly, this article provides a description of each approach, and illustrates the potential benefits and disadvantages of each technique with reference to indication and spine level performed.
PMCID: PMC5039869  PMID: 27683674
Degenerative disc disease; spine; interbody; lumbar spine fusion; posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF); transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF); minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF); lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF); oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF); anterior to psoas (ATP); anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
2.  Mini-Open Anterior Retroperitoneal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Oblique Lateral Interbody Fusion for Degenerated Lumbar Spinal Kyphoscoliosis 
Asian Spine Journal  2015;9(4):565-572.
Study Design
Prospective case series.
To examine the clinical efficacy of mini-open anterior retroperitoneal lumbar interbody fusion: oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF) for degenerated lumbar spinal kyphoscoliosis.
Overview of Literature
The existing surgical procedures for the treatment of spinal kyphotic deformity, including Smith-Petersen osteotomy, pedicle subtraction osteotomy, and vertebral column resection procedures, are invasive in nature. Extreme lateral interbody fusion to provide less invasive treatment of the deformity has been reported, but complications including spinal nerve and psoas muscle injury have been noted. In the current study, we examined the clinical efficacy and complications of OLIF for degenerated lumbar spinal kyphoscoliosis.
Twelve patients with degenerated lumbar spinal kyphoscoliosis were examined. All patients underwent OLIF surgery (using a cage and bone graft from the iliac crest) with open pedicle screws or percutaneous pedicle screws, without real-time monitoring by electromyography. Visual analog scale score and Oswestry disability index were evaluated before and 12 months after surgery, and fusion rate at OLIF cage, correction of the deformity, total blood loss, and surgical complications were also evaluated.
Pain scores significantly improved after surgery (p<0.05). Fusion rate was found to be 90%, balance parameters also improved after surgery (p<0.05), and average total blood loss was less than 350 mL. There was no spinal nerve, major vessel, peritoneal, or urinary injury, or breakage of instrumentation.
OLIF surgery for degenerated lumbar spinal kyphoscoliosis is less invasive than other procedures and good surgical results were produced without major complications.
PMCID: PMC4522447  PMID: 26240716
Lumbar; Kyphoscoliosis; Nerve; Injury; Surgery
3.  Less invasive corrective surgery using oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF) including L5-S1 fusion for severe lumbar kyphoscoliosis due to L4 compression fracture in a patient with Parkinson’s disease: a case report 
BMC Research Notes  2015;8:126.
Corrective surgery for kyphoscoliosis patients tend to be highly invasive due to osteotomy. The present case introduce less invasive corrective surgery using anterior oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF) technique.
Case presentation
An 80-year-old Japanese man with a history of Parkinson’s disease presented to our hospital because of severe kyphoscoliosis and gait disturbance. Considering the postsurgical complications due to osteotomy, we performed an anterior-posterior combined corrective fusion surgery: OLIF of Lumbar (L) 2-3, L3-4, and L4-5 (Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Memphis, TN, USA) followed by L5-Sacral (S) 1 anterior lumbar fusion via the OLIF approach using an anterior intervertebral cage, and posterior L3-4 and L4-5 facetectomy and posterior fusion using percutaneous pedicle screws from Thoracic (T) 10 to S1 with a T-9 hook system. The surgery was performed in a less invasive manner with no osteotomy, and it improved the sagittal alignments with moderate restoration, which improved the patient’s posture and gait disturbance. The patient showed transient muscle weakness of proximal lower extremity contralateral side to the surgical site, which fully recovered by physical rehabilitation 3 months after the surgery.
The surgical corrective procedure using the minimally invasive OLIF method including L5-S1 fusion showed a great advantage in treating degenerative kyphoscoliosis in a Parkinson’s disease patient in its less-invasive approac.
PMCID: PMC4389863  PMID: 25889999
Kyphoplasty; Minimally invasive corrective surgery; Oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF)
4.  Imaging Anatomical Research on the Operative Windows of Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0163452.
To provide applied anatomical evidence of the preoperative assessment of oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF), the anatomical parameters of the OLIF operative window were observed through computed tomography angiography (CTA). We selected imaging data from 60 adults (30 males, 30 females) who underwent abdominal CTA and T12-S1 vertebral computed tomography (CT) with three-dimensional reconstruction. The OLIF operative windows at the L1-2, L2-3, L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1 levels were as follows: the vascular window, bare window, psoas major window, ideal operative window, and actual operative window. Each level's actual operative window was statistically analyzed based on an actual operative window of <1 cm and ≥1 cm. The vascular window was largest at L4-5 (1.72 ± 0.58 cm). The bare window was largest at L5-S1 (1.59 ± 0.93 cm) and smallest at L3-4 (1.37 ± 0.51 cm). The psoas major window was largest at L3-4 (1.14 ± 0.35 cm) and smallest at L1-2 (0.41 ± 0.34 cm). The ideal operative window was largest at L4-5 (3.74 ± 0.36 cm) and smallest at L1-2 (3.23 ± 0.30 cm). The actual operative window was largest at L3-4, followed by L2-3, L4-5, L1-2, and L5-S1, which were 2.51 ± 0.56 cm, 2.28 ± 0.54 cm, 2.01 ± 0.74 cm, 1.80 ± 0.45 cm and 1.59 ± 0.93 cm, respectively (P = 0.000), and the percentages of the actual surgical window were 69%, 66%, 53%, 56% and 43%, respectively. The actual surgical window was <1 cm in 2 cases at L1-2 (3.3%), 4 cases at L4-5 (6.7%), and 17 cases at L5-S1 (28.3%) (11 males and 6 females). The regional anatomy of each level related to OLIF has its own peculiarities, and not all levels are suitable for OLIF. Before OLIF surgery, surgeons should analyze the imaging anatomy and select the appropriate surgical procedures.
PMCID: PMC5042505  PMID: 27685646
5.  Miniopen Oblique Lateral L5-S1 Interbody Fusion: A Report of 2 Cases 
Case Reports in Orthopedics  2014;2014:603531.
Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) has been widely used for minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), but an approach to L5-S1 is difficult because of the iliac crest. In the current study, we present 2 cases using minimally invasive oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF) of L5-S1. The patients showed foraminal stenosis between L5 and S1 and severe low back and leg pain. The patients were placed in a lateral decubitus position and underwent OLIF surgery (using a cage and bone graft from the iliac crest) without posterior decompression. Posterior screws were used in the patients. Pain scores significantly improved after surgery. There was no spinal nerve, major vessel, peritoneal, or urinary injury. OLIF surgery was minimally invasive and produced good surgical results without complications.
PMCID: PMC4221972  PMID: 25400963
6.  Mini-Open Anterior Retroperitoneal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Oblique Lateral Interbody Fusion for Lumbar Spinal Degeneration Disease 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2015;56(4):1051-1059.
Surgery for lumbar spinal degeneration disease is widely performed. While posterior decompression and fusion are popular, anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is also used for treatment. Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) is commonly used for noninvasive ALIF; however, several complications, such as spinal nerve and psoas muscle injury, have been reported. In the current study, we examined the clinical efficacy and complications of oblique lateral interbody fusion (OLIF) for lumbar spinal degeneration disease.
Materials and Methods
Thirty-five patients with degenerated spondylolisthesis, discogenic pain, and kyphoscoliosis were examined. All patients underwent OLIF surgery (using a cage and bone graft from the iliac crest) with or without posterior decompression, without real-time electromyography monitoring. Posterior screws were used in all patients. Visual analog scale (VAS) score and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were evaluated before and 6 months after surgery. Surgical complications were also evaluated.
Pain scores significantly improved after surgery, compared to those before surgery (p<0.05). There was no patient who underwent revision surgery. There was no spinal nerve, major vessel, peritoneal, or urinary injury. Few patients showed symptoms from psoas invasion.
OLIF surgery produced good surgical results without any major complication.
PMCID: PMC4479835  PMID: 26069130
Oblique lateral interbody fusion; lumbar; degeneration disease; decompress; nerve; injury; surgery
7.  The importance of the anterior longitudinal ligament in lumbar disc arthroplasty: 36-Month follow-up experience in extreme lateral total disc replacement 
Current total disc replacement (TDR) for lumbar spine requires an anterior approach for implantation but presents inherent limitations, including risks to the abdominal structures, as well as resection of the anterior longitudinal ligament. By approaching the spine laterally, it is possible to preserve the stabilizing ligaments, which are a natural restraint to excessive rotations and translations, and thereby help to minimize facet stresses. This less invasive approach also offers a biomechanical advantage of placement of the device over the ring apophysis bilaterally; importantly, it also offers a greater opportunity for safer revision surgery, if necessary, by avoiding scarring of the anterior vasculature. We present the clinical and radiologic results of a lateral TDR device from a prospective single-center study.
A new metal-on-metal TDR device designed for implantation through a true lateral, retroperitoneal, transpsoatic approach (extreme lateral interbody fusion) was implanted in 36 patients with discography-confirmed 1- or 2-level degenerative disc disease. Clinical (pain and function) and radiographic (range of motion) outcome assessments were prospectively collected preoperatively, postoperatively, and serially up to a minimum of 36 months’ follow-up.
Between December 2005 and December 2006, 36 surgeries were performed in 16 men and 20 women (mean age, 42.6 years). These included 15 single-level TDR procedures at L3-4 or L4-5, 3 2-level TDR procedures spanning L3-4 and L4-5, and 18 hybrid procedures (anterior lumbar interbody fusion) at L5-S1 and TDR at L4-5 (17) or L3-4 (1). Operative time averaged 130 minutes, with mean blood loss of 60 mL and no intraoperative complications. Postoperative X-rays showed good device placement, with restoration of disc height, foraminal volume, and sagittal balance. All patients were up and walking within 12 hours of surgery, and all but 9 were discharged the next day (7 of those 9 were hybrid TDR–anterior lumbar interbody fusion cases). Postoperatively, 5 of 36 patients (13.8%) had psoas weakness and 3 of 36 (8.3%) had anterior thigh numbness, with both symptoms resolving within 2 weeks. Of the 36 patients, 4 (11%) had postoperative facet joint pain, all in hybrid cases. Visual analog scale pain scores and Oswestry Disability Index scores improved by 74.5% and 69.2%, respectively, from preoperatively to 3-year follow-up. Range of motion at 3 years postoperatively averaged 8.1°. Signals of heterotopic ossification were present in 5 patients (13.9%), and 2 patients (5.5%) were considered to have fusion after 36 months.
The clinical and radiographic results of a laterally placed TDR have shown maintenance of pain relief and functional improvement over a long-term follow-up period. The benefits of the lateral access—minimal morbidity, avoidance of mobilization of the great vessels, preservation of the anterior longitudinal ligament, biomechanically stable orientation, and broader revision options—promote a new option for motion-preservation procedures.
PMCID: PMC4300872  PMID: 25694866
Arthroplasty; Total disc replacement; XLIF; Minimally invasive; Lateral approach
8.  Endoscopic transforaminal decompression, interbody fusion, and percutaneous pedicle screw implantation of the lumbar spine: A case series report 
On the basis of the experiences gained from conventional open spinal procedures, a long list of desirable objectives have emerged with the evolution of the lesser invasive spinal procedures. At the top of that list is the desire to minimize the trauma of surgery. The rest of the objectives, which include reductions of operating time, surgical blood loss, hospital stay, postoperative narcotic medication, convalescence, complication rates, and escalating health care costs, as well as the desire of elderly patients to continue rigorous physical activities, largely depend on the ability to minimize the trauma of surgery. The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of the least invasive lumbar decompression, interbody fusion and percutaneous pedicle screw implantation, to minimize surgical trauma without compromising the quality of the treatment outcome, as well as to minimize risk of complications.
In this case series, 60 patients with diagnoses of degenerative disc disease, degenerative motion segments with stenosis, and spondylolisthesis, in whom nonoperative treatments failed, were treated with endoscopic transforaminal decompression and interbody fusion by 1 surgeon in 2 centers. The outcome measures were as follows: operating time, intraoperative blood loss, hospital stay, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores for back and leg pain, scores on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire, and postoperative imaging studies. A consecutive series of patients who met the treatment criteria completed VAS forms and Roland-Morris questionnaires preoperatively. Surgical procedures included arthroscopic decompression of the foramina and the discs; endplate preparation and implantation of allograft bone chips and bone morphogenetic protein 2 on absorbable collagen sponge into the disc space; and percutaneous implantation of pedicle screws. Postoperatively, the patients again completed the VAS forms and Roland-Morris questionnaires. Their charts were reviewed for office notes, operative notes, hospital stay, medications, and imaging studies. The latest X-ray and computed tomography scan films were reviewed and analyzed. Patients were followed up for a minimum of 6 months. The literature was reviewed for comparison of outcomes.
Sixty patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 52.8 years. The duration of illness averaged 5 years. Follow-up ranged from 6 to 25 months, with a mean of 12 months. Preoperative diagnoses included degenerative disc disease, degenerative motion segments with stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. The mean time in the operating room was 2 hours 54 minutes. Estimated blood loss averaged 57.6 mL. The duration of the hospital stay averaged 2.6 days. Preoperative back pain and leg pain were significantly reduced (P < .005). Forty-seven imaging studies obtained at the last visit, including X-ray and computed tomography scans, showed solid fusion in 28 patients (59.6%), stable fixation in 17 (36.2%), and osteolysis around the pedicle screws in 2 (4.2%). All patients had improvement of motor function, whereas 2 patients complained of residual numbness. In addition, 8 patients (13%) complained of residual discomfort on extension of the lumbar spine. Two patients had pedicle screw–related complications requiring surgery. A review of the literature showed that endoscopic transforaminal decompression and interbody fusion performed better than open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion/posterior lumbar interbody fusion, minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, and extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion, with regard to most parameters studied.
The endoscopic transforaminal lumbar decompression, interbody fusion, and percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation consistently produced satisfactory results in all demographics. It performed better than the alternative procedures for most parameters studied.
PMCID: PMC4300894  PMID: 25694885
ETDIF; Arthroscopic; Posterolateral; Interbody; Percutaneous; BMP-2
9.  Mini-Open Approach for Direct Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion 
Asian Spine Journal  2014;8(4):491-497.
Study Design
Retrospective analysis.
To introduce the mini-open lateral approach for the anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), and to investigate the advantages, technical pitfalls and complications by providing basic knowledge on extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) or direct lumbar interbody fusion (DLIF).
Overview of Literature
Recently, minimally invasive lateral approach for the lumbar spine is revived and receiving popularity under the name of XLIF or DLIF by modification of mini-open method when using the sequential tubular dilator and special expandable retractor system.
Seventy-four patients who underwent surgery by the mini-open lateral approach from September 2000 to April 2008 with various disease entities were included. Blood losses, operation times, incision sizes, postoperative time to mobilization, length of hospital stays, technical problems and complications were all analyzed.
The blood losses and operation times of patients who underwent simple ALIF were 61.2 mL and 86 minutes for one level, 107 mL and 106 minutes for two levels, 250 mL and 142.8 minutes for three levels, and 400 mL and 190 minutes for four levels of fusion. The incision sizes were on average 4.5 cm for one level, 6.3 cm for two levels, 8.5 cm for three levels and 10.0 cm for four levels of fusion. The complications were retroperitoneal hematoma (2 cases), pneumonia (1 case) and transient lumbosacral plexus palsy (3 cases).
Trials of mini-open lateral approach would be helpful before the trial of XLIF or DLIF. However, special attention is required for complications such as transient lumbosacral plexus palsy.
PMCID: PMC4149993  PMID: 25187867
Lumbar spine; Mini-open lateral approach; Interbody fusion
10.  Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a safe technique with satisfactory three to five year results 
European Spine Journal  2005;14(6):551-558.
The unilateral transforaminal approach for lumbar interbody fusion as an alternative to the anterior (ALIF) and traditional posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) combined with pedicle screw instrumentation is gaining in popularity. At present, a prospective study using a standardized tool for outcome measurement after the transforaminal lumber interbody fusion (TLIF) with a follow-up of at least 3 years is not available in the current literature, although there have been reports on specific complications and cost efficiency. Therefore, a study of TLIF was undertaken. Fifty-two consecutive patients with a minimum follow-up of 3 years were included, with the mean follow-up being 46 months (36–64). The indications were 22 isthmic spondylolistheses and 30 degenerative disorders of the lumbar spine. Thirty-nine cases were one-level, 11 cases were two-level, and two cases were three-level fusions. The pain and disability status was prospectively evaluated by the Oswestry disability index (ODI) and a visual analog scale (VAS). The status of bony fusion was evaluated by an independent radiologist using anterior–posterior and lateral radiographs. The operation time averaged 173 min for one-level and 238 min for multiple-level fusions. Average blood loss was 485 ml for one-level and 560 ml for multiple-level fusions. There were four serious complications registered: a deep infection, a persistent radiculopathy, a symptomatic contralateral disc herniation and a pseudarthrosis with loosening of the implants. Overall, the pain relief in the VAS and the reduction of the ODI was significant (P<0.05) at follow-up. The fusion rate was 89%. At the latest follow-up, significant differences of the ODI were neither found between isthmic spondylolistheses and degenerative diseases, nor between one- and multiple-level fusions. In conclusion, the TLIF technique has comparable results to other interbody fusions, such as the PLIF and ALIF techniques. The potential advantages of the TLIF technique include avoidance of the anterior approach and reduction of the approach related posterior trauma to the spinal canal.
PMCID: PMC3489237  PMID: 15672243
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF); Low back pain; Spinal fusion; Lumbar fusion; Interbody fusion
11.  Posterior lumbar interbody fusion using one diagonal fusion cage with transpedicular screw/rod fixation 
European Spine Journal  2003;12(2):173-177.
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) using threaded cages has gained wide popularity for lumbosacral spinal disease. Our biomechanical tests showed that PLIF using a single diagonal cage with unilateral facetectomy does add a little to spinal stability and provides equal or even higher postoperative stability than PLIF using two posterior cages with bilateral facetectomy. Studies also demonstrated that cages placed using a posterior approach did not cause the same increase in spinal stiffness seen with pedicle screw instrumentation, and we concluded that cages should not be used posteriorly without other forms of fixation. On the other hand, placement of two cages using a posterior approach does have the disadvantage of risk to the bilateral nerve roots. We therefore performed a prospective study to determine whether PLIF can be accomplished by utilizing a single diagonal fusion cage with the application of supplemental transpedicular screw/rod instrumentation. Twenty-seven patients underwent a PLIF using one single fusion cage (BAK, Sulzer Spine-Tech, Minneapolis, MN, USA) inserted posterolaterally and oriented anteromedially on the symptomatic side with unilateral facetectomy and at the same level supplemental fixation with a transpedicular screw/rod system. The internal fixation systems included 12 SOCON spinal systems (Aesculap AG, Germany) and 15 TSRH spinal systems (Medtronic Sofamor Danek, USA). The inclusion criteria were grade 1 to 2 lumbar isthmic spondylolisthesis, lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis, and recurrent lumbar disc herniations with instability. Patients had at least 1 year of low back pain and/or unilateral sciatica and a severely restricted functional ability in individuals aged 28–55 years. Patients with more than grade 2 spondylolisthesis or adjacent-level degeneration were excluded from the study. Patients were clinically assessed prior to surgery by an independent assessor; they were then reassessed at 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months postoperatively by the same assessor and put into four categories: excellent, good, fair, and poor. Operative time, blood loss, hospital expense, and complications were also recorded. All patients achieved successful radiographic fusion at 2 years, and this was achieved at 1 year in 25 out of 27 patients. At 2 years, clinical results were excellent in 15patients, good in 10, fair in 1, and poor in 1. Regarding complications, one patient had a postoperative motor and sensory deficit of the nerve root. Reoperation was required in one patient due to migration of pedicle screws. No implant fractures or deformities occurred in any of the patients. PLIF using diagonal insertion of a single threaded cage with supplemental transpedicular screw/rod instrumentation enables sufficient decompression and solid interbody fusion to be achieved with minimal invasion of the posterior spinal elements. It is a clinically safer, easier, and more economical means of accomplishing PLIF.
PMCID: PMC3784842  PMID: 12709855
Lumbar Fusion cage Implant Transpedicular screw Interbody
12.  A Meta-Analysis of Unilateral versus Bilateral Pedicle Screw Fixation in Minimally Invasive Lumbar Interbody Fusion 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111979.
Study Design
Bilateral pedicle screw fixation (PS) after lumbar interbody fusion is a widely accepted method of managing various spinal diseases. Recently, unilateral PS fixation has been reported as effective as bilateral PS fixation. This meta-analysis aimed to comparatively assess the efficacy and safety of unilateral PS fixation and bilateral PS fixation in the minimally invasive (MIS) lumbar interbody fusion for one-level degenerative lumbar spine disease.
MEDLINE/PubMed, EMBASE, BIOSIS Previews, and Cochrane Library were searched through March 30, 2014. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials (CCTs) on unilateral versus bilateral PS fixation in MIS lumbar interbody fusion that met the inclusion criteria and the methodological quality standard were retrieved and reviewed. Data on participant characteristics, interventions, follow-up period, and outcomes were extracted from the included studies and analyzed by Review Manager 5.2.
Six studies (5 RCTs and 1 CCT) involving 298 patients were selected. There were no significant differences between unilateral and bilateral PS fixation procedures in fusion rate, complications, visual analogue score (VAS) for leg pain, VAS for back pain, Oswestry disability index (ODI). Both fixation procedures had similar length of hospital stay (MD = 0.38, 95% CI = −0.83 to 1.58; P = 0.54). In contrast, bilateral PS fixation was associated with significantly more intra-operative blood loss (P = 0.002) and significantly longer operation time (P = 0.02) as compared with unilateral PS fixation.
Unilateral PS fixation appears as effective and safe as bilateral PS fixation in MIS lumbar interbody fusion but requires less operative time and causes less blood loss, thus offering a simple alternative approach for one-level lumbar degenerative disease.
PMCID: PMC4223107  PMID: 25375315
13.  Clinical and radiographic outcomes with L4–S1 axial lumbar interbody fusion (AxiaLIF) and posterior instrumentation: a multicenter study 
Previous studies have confirmed the benefits and limitations of the presacral retroperitoneal approach for L5–S1 interbody fusion. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and effectiveness of the minimally invasive axial lumbar interbody approach (AxiaLIF) for L4–S1 fusion.
In this retrospective series, 52 patients from four clinical sites underwent L4–S1 interbody fusion with the AxiaLIF two-level system with minimum 2-year clinical and radiographic follow-up (range: 24–51 months). Outcomes included back pain severity (on a 10-point scale), the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Odom’s criteria. Flexion and extension radiographs, as well as computed tomography scans, were evaluated to determine fusion status. Longitudinal outcomes were assessed with repeated measures analysis of variance.
Mean subject age was 52 ± 11 years and the male:female ratio was 1:1. Patients sustained no intraoperative bowel or vascular injury, deep infection, or neurologic complication. Median procedural blood loss was 220 cc and median length of hospital stay was 3 days. At 2-year follow-up, mean back pain had improved 56%, from 7.7 ± 1.6 at baseline to 3.4 ± 2.7 (P < 0.001). Back pain clinical success (ie, ≥30% improvement from baseline) was achieved in 39 (75%) patients at 2 years. Mean ODI scores improved 42%, from 60% ± 16% at baseline to 35% ± 27% at 2 years (P < 0.001). ODI clinical success (ie, ≥30% improvement from baseline) was achieved in 26 (50%) patients. At final follow-up, 45 (87%) patients were rated as good or excellent, five as fair, and two as poor by Odom’s criteria. Interbody fusion observed on imaging was achieved in 97 (93%) of 104 treated interspaces. During follow-up, five patients underwent reoperation on the lumbar spine, including facet screw removal (two), laminectomy (two), and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (one).
The AxiaLIF two-level device is a safe, effective treatment adjunct for patients with L4–S1 disc pathology resistant to conservative treatments.
PMCID: PMC3787926  PMID: 24092998
AxiaLIF; axial presacral fusion; interbody; outcomes; two-level fusion
14.  Minimally invasive 360° instrumented lumbar fusion 
European Spine Journal  2000;9(Suppl 1):S051-S056.
A retrospective preliminary study was undertaken of combined minimally invasive instrumented lumbar fusion utilizing the BERG (balloon-assisted endoscopic retroperitoneal gasless) approach ¶anteriorly, and a posterior small-incision approach with translaminar screw fixation and posterolateral ¶fusion. The study aimed to quantify the clinical and radiological results using this combined technique. The traditional minimally invasive approach to the anterior lumbar spine involves gas insufflation and provides reliable access only to L5-S1 and in some cases L4-5. A gas-mediated approach yields many technical drawbacks to performing spinal surgery. A minimally invasive posterior approach involving suprafascial pedicle screw instrumentation has been developed, but without widespread use. Translaminar facet fixation may be a viable alternative to transpedicular fixation in a 360° instrumented fusion model. Past studies have shown open 360° instrumented lumbar fusion yields high arthrodesis rates. The study examined the cases of 46 patients who underwent successful 360° instrumented lumbar fusion using a combined minimally invasive approach. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) at one or two levels was performed through the BERG approach; a gasless retroperitoneal approach to the lumbar spine allowing the use ¶of standard anterior instrumentation. Posteriorly, all patients underwent successful decompression, translaminar fixation, and posterolateral fusion at one or two levels through ¶one small (2.5–5.0 cm) incision. Results showed mean hospital stay of 2.02 days; mean combined blood loss was 255 cc; and mean pain relief was 56%, with 75.5% of patients reporting good, excellent, or total pain relief. Forty-two of 46 patients (93.2%) achieved a solid fusion ¶24 months after surgery. A total of 47% of all patients working prior to surgery returned to work following surgery. The study showed that minimally invasive 360° instrumented lumbar fusion, when performed utilizing these approaches, yields a high rate of solid arthrodesis (93.3%), good pain relief, short hospital stays, low blood losses, accelerated rehabilitation, and a quick return to the workforce. The BERG approach offers technical advantages over the traditional gas-mediated laparoscopic approach to the anterior lumbar spine.
PMCID: PMC3611432  PMID: 10766058
Key words Minimally Invasive; 360° lumbar fusion; Combined ¶anteroposterior; Gasless endoscopy; Translaminar fixation
15.  Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2014;48(6):562-567.
The use of minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques represents the most recent modification of methods used to achieve lumbar interbody fusion. The advantages of minimally invasive spinal instrumentation techniques are less soft tissue injury, reduced blood loss, less postoperative pain and shorter hospital stay while achieving clinical outcomes comparable with equivalent open procedure. The aim was to study the clinicoradiological outcome of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion.
Materials and Methods:
This prospective study was conducted on 23 patients, 17 females and 6 males, who underwent MIS-transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) followed up for a mean 15 months. The subjects were evaluated for clinical and radiological outcome who were manifested by back pain alone (n = 4) or back pain with leg pain (n = 19) associated with a primary diagnosis of degenerative spondylolisthesis, massive disc herniation, lumbar stenosis, recurrent disc herniation or degenerative disc disease. Paraspinal approach was used in all patients. The clinical outcome was assessed using the revised Oswestry disability index and Macnab criteria.
The mean age of subjects was 55.45 years. L4-L5 level was operated in 14 subjects, L5-S1 in 7 subjects; L3-L4 and double level was fixed in 1 patient each. L4-L5 degenerative listhesis was the most common indication (n = 12). Average operative time was 3 h. Fourteen patients had excellent results, a good result in 5 subjects, 2 subjects had fair results and 2 had poor results. Three patients had persistent back pain, 4 patients had residual numbness or radiculopathy. All patients had a radiological union except for 1 patient.
The study demonstrates a good clinicoradiological outcome of minimally invasive TLIF. It is also superior in terms of postoperative back pain, blood loss, hospital stay, recovery time as well as medication use.
PMCID: PMC4232824  PMID: 25404767
Degenerative spine; lumbar fusion; minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; spondylolisthesis; Spinal arthritis; spondyloarthritis; spondylolisthesis; minimally invasive; spinal fusion
16.  Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (OLLIF): Technical Notes and Early Results of a Single Surgeon Comparative Study 
Cureus  null;7(10):e351.
Background context: Lower back pain is one of the most prevalent and expensive health conditions in the Western world. The standard treatment, interbody fusion, is an invasive procedure that requires the stripping of muscles and soft tissue, leading to surgical morbidity. Current minimally invasive (MI) spinal fusions are technically demanding and suffer from technical limitations.
Purpose: Oblique lumbar lateral interbody fusion (OLLIF) is a new technique for fusion of the lumbar spine that overcomes these complications. Outcome measures include patient demographics, reported outcomes, and surgical outcomes.
Study design/Setting: Kambin's Triangle can easily be located as a silent window with an electrophysiological probe. Discectomy is performed through a single access portal with a 10 mm diameter. After a discectomy, the disc space is packed with beta-tricalcium phosphate soaked in autologous bone marrow, aspirated, and the cage is inserted. Finally, a minimally invasive posterior fixation is performed.
Methods: OLLIF’s major innovation is to approach the disc through Kambin’s Triangle, aided by bilateral fluoroscopy.
Results: We present data from 69 consecutive OLLIF surgeries on 128 levels with a control group of 55 consecutive open transformational lumbar interbody fusions (TLIFs) on 125 levels. For a single level OLLIF, the mean surgery time is 69 minutes (min) and blood loss is 29 ml. Surgery time was approximately twice as fast as open TLIF (mean: 135 min) and blood loss is reduced by over 80% compared to TLIF (mean: 355 ml).
Conclusions: OLLIF is a minimally invasive fusion that significantly reduces surgery times compared to open surgery. OLLIF overcomes the difficulties of traditional open fusions, making it a safe and technically less demanding surgery than open or minimally invasive TLIF. 
PMCID: PMC4652919  PMID: 26623206
spinal fusion; lumbar spine; spine surgery; operative surgical procedures; minimally invasive surgery; interbody fusion; level 3 retrospective cohort study; disc disease
17.  Mini-open lateral retroperitoneal lumbar spine approach using psoas muscle retraction technique. Technical report and initial results on six patients 
European Spine Journal  2013;22(9):2113-2119.
The main aim of this paper was to report reproducible method of lumbar spine access via a lateral retroperitoneal route.
The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of the technical aspects and clinical outcomes of six patients who underwent lateral multilevel retroperitoneal interbody fusion with psoas muscle retraction technique. The main goal was to develop a simple and reproducible technique to avoid injury to the lumbar plexus.
Six patients were operated at 15 levels using psoas muscle retraction technique. All patients reported improvement in back pain and radiculopathy after the surgery. The only procedure-related transient complication was weakness and pain on hip flexion that resolved by the first follow-up visit.
Psoas retraction technique is a reliable technique for lateral access to the lumbar spine and may avoid some of the complications related to traditional minimally invasive transpsoas approach.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00586-013-2931-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3777064  PMID: 23904000
Retroperitoneal approach; Interbody fusion; Psoas muscle; Lumbar plexus
18.  Artificial Discs for Lumbar and Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease –Update 
Executive Summary
To assess the safety and efficacy of artificial disc replacement (ADR) technology for degenerative disc disease (DDD).
Clinical Need
Degenerative disc disease is the term used to describe the deterioration of 1 or more intervertebral discs of the spine. The prevalence of DDD is roughly described in proportion to age such that 40% of people aged 40 years have DDD, increasing to 80% among those aged 80 years or older. Low back pain is a common symptom of lumbar DDD; neck and arm pain are common symptoms of cervical DDD. Nonsurgical treatments can be used to relieve pain and minimize disability associated with DDD. However, it is estimated that about 10% to 20% of people with lumbar DDD and up to 30% with cervical DDD will be unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments. In these cases, surgical treatment is considered. Spinal fusion (arthrodesis) is the process of fusing or joining 2 bones and is considered the surgical gold standard for DDD.
Artificial disc replacement is the replacement of the degenerated intervertebral disc with an artificial disc in people with DDD of the lumbar or cervical spine that has been unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments for at least 6 months. Unlike spinal fusion, ADR preserves movement of the spine, which is thought to reduce or prevent the development of adjacent segment degeneration. Additionally, a bone graft is not required for ADR, and this alleviates complications, including bone graft donor site pain and pseudoarthrosis. It is estimated that about 5% of patients who require surgery for DDD will be candidates for ADR.
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a computerized search of the literature published between 2003 and September 2005 to answer the following questions:
What is the effectiveness of ADR in people with DDD of the lumbar or cervical regions of the spine compared with spinal fusion surgery?
Does an artificial disc reduce the incidence of adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) compared with spinal fusion?
What is the rate of major complications (device failure, reoperation) with artificial discs compared with surgical spinal fusion?
One reviewer evaluated the internal validity of the primary studies using the criteria outlined in the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Injuries Group Quality Assessment Tool. The quality of concealment allocation was rated as: A, clearly yes; B, unclear; or C, clearly no. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the overall quality of the body of evidence (defined as 1 or more studies) supporting the research questions explored in this systematic review. A random effects model meta-analysis was conducted when data were available from 2 or more randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and when there was no statistical and or clinical heterogeneity among studies. Bayesian analyses were undertaken to do the following:
Examine the influence of missing data on clinical success rates;
Compute the probability that artificial discs were superior to spinal fusion (on the basis of clinical success rates);
Examine whether the results were sensitive to the choice of noninferiority margin.
Summary of Findings
The literature search yielded 140 citations. Of these, 1 Cochrane systematic review, 1 RCT, and 10 case series were included in this review. Unpublished data from an RCT reported in the grey literature were obtained from the manufacturer of the device. The search also yielded 8 health technology assessments evaluating ADR that are also included in this review.
Six of the 8 health technology assessments concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of either lumbar or cervical ADR. The results of the remaining 2 assessments (one each for lumbar and cervical ADR) led to a National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidance document supporting the safety and effectiveness of lumbar and cervical ADR with the proviso that an ongoing audit of all clinical outcomes be undertaken owing to a lack of long-term outcome data from clinical trials.
Regarding lumbar ADR, data were available from 2 noninferiority RCTs to complete a meta-analysis. The following clinical, health systems, and adverse event outcome measures were synthesized: primary outcome of clinical success, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, pain VAS scores, patient satisfaction, duration of surgery, amount of blood loss, length of hospital stay, rate of device failure, and rate of reoperation.
The meta-analysis of overall clinical success supported the noninferiority of lumbar ADR compared with spinal fusion at 24-month follow-up. Of the remaining clinical outcome measures (ODI, pain VAS scores, SF-36 scores [mental and physical components], patient satisfaction, and return to work status), only patient satisfaction and scores on the physical component scale of the SF-36 questionnaire were significantly improved in favour of lumbar ADR compared with spinal fusion at 24 months follow-up. Blood loss and surgical time showed statistical heterogeneity; therefore, meta-analysis results are not interpretable. Length of hospital stay was significantly shorter in patients receiving the ADR compared with controls. Neither the number of device failures nor the number of neurological complications at 24 months was statistically significantly different between the ADR and fusion treatment groups. However, there was a trend towards fewer neurological complications at 24 months in the ADR treatment group compared with the spinal fusion treatment group.
Results of the Bayesian analyses indicated that the influence of missing data on the outcome measure of clinical success was minimal. The Bayesian model indicated that the probability for ADR being better than spinal fusion was 79%. The probability of ADR being noninferior to spinal fusion using a -10% noninferiority bound was 92%, and using a -15% noninferiority bound was 94%. The probability of artificial discs being superior to spinal fusion in a future trial was 73%.
Six case series were reviewed, mainly to characterize the rate of major complications for lumbar ADR. The Medical Advisory Secretariat defined a major complication as any reoperation; device failure necessitating a revision, removal or reoperation; or life-threatening event. The rates of major complications ranged from 0% to 13% per device implanted. Only 1 study reported the rate of ASD, which was detected in 2 (2%) of the 100 people 11 years after surgery.
There were no RCT data available for cervical ADR; therefore, data from 4 case series were reviewed for evidence of effectiveness and safety. Because data were sparse, the effectiveness of cervical ADR compared with spinal fusion cannot be determined at this time.
The rate of major complications was assessed up to 2 years after surgery. It was found to range from 0% to 8.1% per device implanted. The rate of ASD is not reported in the clinical trial literature.
The total cost of a lumbar ADR procedure is $15,371 (Cdn; including costs related to the device, physician, and procedure). The total cost of a lumbar fusion surgery procedure is $11,311 (Cdn; including physicians’ and procedural costs).
Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement
Since the 2004 Medical Advisory Secretariat health technology policy assessment, data from 2 RCTs and 6 case series assessing the effectiveness and adverse events profile of lumbar ADR to treat DDD has become available. The GRADE quality of this evidence is moderate for effectiveness and for short-term (2-year follow-up) complications; it is very low for ASD.
The effectiveness of lumbar ADR is not inferior to that of spinal fusion for the treatment of lumbar DDD. The rates for device failure and neurological complications 2 years after surgery did not differ between ADR and fusion patients. Based on a Bayesian meta-analysis, lumbar ADR is 79% superior to lumbar spinal fusion.
The rate of major complications after lumbar ADR is between 0% and 13% per device implanted. The rate of ASD in 1 case series was 2% over an 11-year follow-up period.
Outcome data for lumbar ADR beyond a 2-year follow-up are not yet available.
Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement
Since the 2004 Medical Advisory Secretariat health technology policy assessment, 4 case series have been added to the body of evidence assessing the effectiveness and adverse events profile of cervical ADR to treat DDD. The GRADE quality of this evidence is very low for effectiveness as well as for the adverse events profile. Sparse outcome data are available.
Because data are sparse, the effectiveness of cervical ADR compared with spinal fusion cannot be determined at this time.
The rate of major complications was assessed up to 2 years after surgery; it ranged from 0% to 8.1% per device implanted. The rate of ASD is not reported in the clinical trial literature.
PMCID: PMC3379529  PMID: 23074480
19.  Minimally Invasive Versus Open Lumbar Fusion: A Comparison of Blood Loss, Surgical Complications, and Hospital Course 
The Iowa Orthopaedic Journal  2015;35:130-134.
Perioperative blood loss is a frequent concern in spine surgery and often necessitates the use of allogeneic transfusion. Minimally invasive technique (MIS) is an option that minimizes surgical trauma and therefore intra-operative bleeding. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the blood loss, surgical complications, and duration of inpatient hospitalization in patients undergoing open posterolateral lumbar fusion (PLF), open posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) with PLF, or MIS transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF).
Operative reports and perioperative data of patients undergoing single-level, primary open PLF (n=41), open PLIF/PLF (n=42), and MIS TLIF (n=71) were retrospectively evaluated. Patient demographics, operative blood loss, use of transfusion products, complications, and length of stay were tabulated. Patient data was controlled for age, BMI, and gender for statistical analysis.
Patients undergoing open PLF and open PLIF/PLF respectively experienced a significantly higher blood loss (p<0.001), higher volume of blood transfusion (p<0.001), higher volume of cell saver transfusion (p<0.001), and more surgical complications (dural injury, wound infections, screw malposition) (p=0.02) than those undergoing MIS TLIF. There was no statistically significant difference in duration of hospital stay (p=0.11).
MIS TLIF provides interbody fusion with less intraoperative blood loss and subsequently a lower transfusion rate compared to open techniques, but this did not influence length of hospital stay. MIS TLIF is at least as safe as open techniques with respect to dural tear, wound infection, and screw placement.
Level of Evidence
Level III, Therapeutic
PMCID: PMC4492142  PMID: 26361455
20.  Economics of less invasive spinal surgery: an analysis of hospital cost differences between open and minimally invasive instrumented spinal fusion procedures during the perioperative period 
There is great debate about the costs and benefits of technology-driven medical interventions such as instrumented lumbar fusion. With most analyses using charge data, the actual costs incurred by medical institutions performing these procedures are not well understood. The object of the current study was to examine the differences in hospital operating costs between open and minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS) during the perioperative period.
Data were collected in the form of a prospective registry from a community hospital after specific Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. The analysis included consecutive adult patients being surgically treated for degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine, with either an MIS or open approach for two-level instrumented lumbar fusion. Patient outcomes and costs were collected for the perioperative period. Hospital operating costs were grouped by hospitalization/operative procedure, transfusions, reoperations, and residual events (health care interactions).
One hundred and one open posterior lumbar interbody fusion (Open group) and 109 MIS patients were treated primarily for stenosis coupled with instability (39.6% and 59.6%, respectively). Mean total hospital costs were $27,055.53 for the Open group and $24,320.16 for the MIS group. This represents a statistically significant cost savings of $2,825.37 (10.4% [95% confidence interval: $522.51–$5,128.23]) when utilizing MIS over traditional Open techniques. Additionally, residual events, complications, and blood transfusions were significantly more frequent in the Open group, compared to the MIS group.
Conclusions/level of evidence
Utilizing minimally invasive techniques for instrumented spinal fusion results in decreased hospital operating costs compared to similar open procedures in the early perioperative period. Additionally, patient benefits of minimally invasive techniques include significantly less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, lower complication rate, and a lower number of residual events. Long-term outcome comparisons are needed to evaluate the efficacy of the two treatments. Level of evidence: III
Clinical relevance
This work represents a true cost-of-operating comparison between open and MIS approaches for lumbar spine fusion, which has relevance to surgeons, hospitals and payers in medical decision-making.
PMCID: PMC3430081  PMID: 22952415
lumbar; degenerative; complications; MIS; residual events
21.  Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion for Spondylolisthesis and Degenerative Spondylosis: 5-year Results 
Multiple studies have reported favorable short-term results after treatment of spondylolisthesis and other degenerative lumbar diseases with minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. However, to our knowledge, results at a minimum of 5 years have not been reported.
We determined (1) changes to the Oswestry Disability Index, (2) frequency of radiographic fusion, (3) complications and reoperations, and (4) the learning curve associated with minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion at minimum 5-year followup.
We reviewed our first 124 patients who underwent minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion to treat low-grade spondylolisthesis and degenerative lumbar diseases and did not need a major deformity correction. This represented 63% (124 of 198) of the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedures we performed for those indications during the study period (2003–2007). Eighty-three (67%) patients had complete 5-year followup. Plain radiographs and CT scans were evaluated by two reviewers. Trends of surgical time, blood loss, and hospital stay over time were examined by logarithmic curve fit-regression analysis to evaluate the learning curve.
At 5 years, mean Oswestry Disability Index improved from 60 points preoperatively to 24 points and 79 of 83 patients (95%) had improvement of greater than 10 points. At 5 years, 67 of 83 (81%) achieved radiographic fusion, including 64 of 72 patients (89%) who had single-level surgery. Perioperative complications occurred in 11 of 124 patients (9%), and another surgical procedure was performed in eight of 124 patients (6.5%) involving the index level and seven of 124 patients (5.6%) at adjacent levels. There were slowly decreasing trends of surgical time and hospital stay only in single-level surgery and almost no change in intraoperative blood loss over time, suggesting a challenging learning curve.
Oswestry Disability Index scores improved for patients with spondylolisthesis and degenerative lumbar diseases treated with minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion at minimum 5-year followup. We suggest this procedure is reasonable for properly selected patients with these indications; however, traditional approaches should still be performed for patients with high-grade spondylolisthesis, patients with a severely collapsed disc space and no motion seen on the dynamic radiographs, patients who need multilevel decompression and arthrodesis, and patients with kyphoscoliosis needing correction.
Level of Evidence
Level IV, therapeutic study. See the Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
PMCID: PMC4016435  PMID: 23955260
22.  The ALIF concept 
European Spine Journal  2000;9(Suppl 1):S035-S043.
The terms ‘minimally invasive’ or ‘less invasive surgery’ have been used recently to describe surgical approaches or operations that are performed with less trauma to anatomical structures on the way to or surrounding the surgical ‘target area’. These types of surgical procedures are usually performed with the help of ‘high-tech’ instruments such as surgical endoscopes or surgical microscopes, modern video techniques and automated instruments. Within the last 10 years, such techniques have been developed in the field of spinal surgery. The application of minimally or less invasive procedures has concentrated predominantly on anterior approaches to the thoracic and lumbar spine. This article describes two anterior approach techniques for performing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) through a minimally invasive retroperitoneal or transperitoneal approach. The technical principles are microsurgical modifications of traditional anterior approaches to the lumbar spine. Through small (4-cm) skin incisions, the target area can be exposed. Preliminary results suggest decreased peri - and postoperative morbidity, less blood loss, earlier rehabilitation and acceptable complication rates. The technique is currently used by the author for all patients requiring anterior lumbar interbody fusion.
PMCID: PMC3611443  PMID: 10766056
Key words Microsurgery; Lumbar spine; Mini ALIF; Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
23.  Endoscopic Foraminal Decompression Preceding Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion To Decrease The Incidence Of Post Operative Dysaesthesia 
Lumbar interbody fusion has become a well established method to diminish axial back pain as well as radiculopathy in patients with degenerative disc disease, stenosis, and instability. The concept of indirect decompression of the neural foramen and spinal canal while performing fusion became popular in the mid 1990’s with description of ALIF techniques. Morphometric analysis confirmed the extent of decompression of posterior elements with interbody height restoration. In an attempt to diminish potential complications associated with anterior or posterior approaches to the spine for interbody fusion, and with the hope of accomplishing fusion in a less invasive manner, lateral lumbar interbody fusion has become quite popular. This transpsoas approach to the disc space has been associated with a high incidence of neurologic complications. Even though this is the first technique to routinely recommend EMG monitoring to increase safety in the approach, neurologic injuries still occur. A newer oblique lateral lumbar interbody (OLLIF) approach has recently been described to lessen the incidence of neurologic injury. This technique also advocates use of EMG testing to lessen neurologic trauma. In spite of this precaution, neurologic insult has not been eliminated. In fact, even in patients whose electrical stimulation thresholds suggested a safe entry space into the disc, transient dysaesthesia continues to occur in 20-25 percent of cases.
This pilot study reflects data and observations of a subset of patients treated with endoscopic foraminotomy preceding oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion (OLLIF) to assess specifically potential improvements in dysaesthesia rates.
A select subset of patients undergoing OLLIF failed to meet electrodiagnostic criteria for safe disc access through Kambin’s triangle. These patients underwent an endoscopic foraminotomy and exiting nerve decompression prior to discectomy, endplate preparation and cage insertion.
Dysaesthesia did not occur in these patients whom otherwise would have likely been at risk for neurologic deficit.
These findings suggest that patients at risk for neurologic insult during oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion can be protected by foraminoplasty.
PMCID: PMC4325491  PMID: 25694923
Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion; endoscopic foraminoplasty; Dysaesthesia; Dysaesthesia rates in OLLIF; Lumbar interbody fusion
24.  Minimally invasive versus open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion 
Available clinical data are insufficient for comparing minimally invasive (MI) and open approaches for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). To date, a paucity of literature exists directly comparing minimally invasive (MI) and open approaches for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). The purpose of this study was to directly compare safety and effectiveness for these two surgical approaches.
Materials and Methods
Open or minimally invasive TLIF was performed in 63 and 76 patients, respectively. All consecutive minimally invasive TLIF cases were matched with a comparable cohort of open TLIF cases using three variables: diagnosis, number of spinal levels, and history of previous lumbar surgery. Patients were treated for painful degenerative disc disease with or without disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, and/or stenosis at one or two spinal levels. Clinical outcome (self-report measures, e.g., visual analog scale (VAS), patient satisfaction, and MacNab's criteria), operative data (operative time, estimated blood loss), length of hospitalization, and complications were assessed. Average follow-up for patients was 37.5 months.
The mean change in VAS scores postoperatively was greater (5.2 vs. 4.1) in theopen TLIF patient group (P = 0.3). MacNab's criteria score was excellent/good in 67% and 70% (P = 0.8) of patients in open and minimally invasive TLIF groups, respectively. The overall patient satisfaction was 72.1% and 64.5% (P = 0.4) in open and minimally invasive TLIF groups, respectively. The total mean operative time was 214.9 min for open and 222.5 min for minimally invasive TLIF procedures (P = 0.5). The mean estimated blood loss for minimally invasive TLIF (163.0 ml) was significantly lower (P < 0.0001) than the open approach (366.8 ml). The mean duration of hospitalization in the minimally invasive TLIF (3 days) was significantly shorter (P = 0.02) than the open group (4.2 days). The total rate of neurological deficit was 10.5% in the minimally invasive TLIF group compared to 1.6% in the open group (P = 0.02).
Minimally invasive TLIF technique may provide equivalent long-term clinical outcomes compared to open TLIF approach in select population of patients. The potential benefit of minimized tissue disruption, reduced blood loss, and length of hospitalization must be weighted against the increased rate of neural injury-related complications associated with a learning curve.
PMCID: PMC2908364  PMID: 20657693
Clinical outcomes; Complications; Degenerative lumbar spine; Lumbar fusion; Minimally invasive approach; Open approach; Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
25.  Presacral retroperitoneal approach to axial lumbar interbody fusion: a new, minimally invasive technique at L5-S1: Clinical outcomes, complications, and fusion rates in 50 patients at 1-year follow-up 
SAS Journal  2010;4(2):54-62.
The presacral retroperitoneal approach to an axial lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a percutaneous, minimally invasive technique for interbody fusion at L5-S1 that has not been extensively studied, particularly with respect to long-term outcomes.
The authors describe clinical and radiographic outcomes at 1-year follow-up for 50 consecutive patients who underwent the presacral ALIF.
Our patients included 24 males and 26 females who underwent the presacral ALIF procedure for interbody fusion at L5-S1. Indications included mechanical back pain and radiculopathy. Thirty-seven patients had disc degeneration at L5-S1, 7 had previously undergone a discectomy, and 6 had spondylolisthesis. A 2-level L4-S1 fusion was performed with a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion at L4-5 in 15 patients. AxiaLIF was performed as a stand-alone procedure in 5 patients and supplemented with pedicle screws in 45 patients. Pre- and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores were evaluated and complications were tracked. Fusion was evaluated by an independent neuro-radiologist.
At 1-year follow-up, VAS and ODI scores had significantly improved by 49% and 50%, respectively, versus preoperative scores. By high-resolution computer tomography (CT) scans, fusion was achieved in 44 (88%) patients, developing bone occurred in 5 (10%), and 1 (2%) patient had pseudoarthrosis. One patient suffered a major operative complication–a bowel perforation with a pre-sacral abscess that resolved with treatment.
Our initial 50 patients who underwent presacral ALIF showed clinical improvement and fusion rates comparable with other interbody fusion techniques; its safety was reflected by low complication rates. Its efficacy in future patients will continue to be monitored, and will be reported in a 2-year follow-up study of fusion.
PMCID: PMC4365614  PMID: 25802650
AxiaLIF; Percutaneous fusion; Minimally invasive fusion; Interbody fusion

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