Minimally invasive approaches for lumbar interbody fusion have been popularized in recent years. The retroperitoneal transpsoas approach to the lumbar spine is a technique that allows direct lateral access to the intervertebral disc space while mitigating the complications associated with traditional anterior or posterior approaches. However, a common complication of this procedure is iatrogenic injury to the psoas muscle and surrounding nerves, resulting in postsurgical motor and sensory deficits. The TranS1 VEO system (TranS1 Inc, Raleigh, NC, USA) utilizes a novel, minimally invasive transpsoas approach to the lumbar spine that allows direct visualization of the psoas and proximal nerves, potentially minimizing iatrogenic injury risk and resulting clinical morbidity. This paper describes the clinical uses, procedural details, and indications for use of the TranS1 VEO system.
fusion; lateral; lumbar; minimally invasive; transpsoas; VEO
The goal of a fusion of the lumbar spine is to obtain a primary solid arthrodesis thus to alleviate pain. Different circumferential fusion techniques have been described such as combined anterior–posterior fusion (APF), instrumented posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). The TLIF procedure has rapidly gained popularity; because of its posterolateral extracanalar discectomy and fusion, it has been reported as a safe technique, without the potential complications described when using combined APF and PLIF techniques. A retrospective clinical and radiographic study was performed. The database of our Center was interrogated in a retrospective way to extract data from patients that underwent a one or two level lumbar fusion with TLIF approach. All patients had symptomatic disc degeneration of the lumbar spine. One hundred and fourteen levels fused from 2003 to 2008. All patients were operated in the same center. All the patients were operated by the same surgical team. Patients were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively at 1 and 3 months and 1 and 2 years follow-up. The spine was approached through a classic posterior midline incision and subperiosteal muscular detachment. The side of facetectomy was chosen according to the subject’s symptoms of leg pain if present. A posterolateral annulotomy was made and subtotal discectomy was performed and the hyaline cartilage of endplates was removed. Once the surgeon was satisfied with endplate preparation, a banana shaped allograft spacer was inserted through the annulotomy and placed anteriorly. Additional autograft locally harvested from decompression was packed behind the allograft spacer in all cases. Laminae and the remaining contralateral facet joint were decorticated, and packed with bone graft (local autologous and allograft chips in some cases). The posterior fusion was instrumented with pedicle screws and titanium rods. The TLIF procedure had led to shortened surgical times, less neurologic injury, and improved overall outcomes. The introduction of the TLIF procedure has allowed surgeons to achieve successful fusion without the risk of nerve root tethering that is seen so frequently with standard PLIF techniques.
TLIF; Minimal invasive fusion; Degenerative disc disease; Interbody fusion
The purpose of the study was to compare conventional versus minimally invasive extraperitoneal approach for anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF). Fifty-six consecutive patients with spondylolisthesis, lumbar instability, or failed back syndrome were treated with ALIF between 1991 and 2001. The patients were retrospectively evaluated and divided in two groups: Group 1, consisting 33 patients, was treated with ALIF using the conventional retroperitoneal approach, and Group 2, consisting of 23 patients, was operated with the minimally invasive muscle-splitting approach for ALIF. The groups were comparable as regards age, indication of fusion, and diagnosis. All patients in both groups had fusion with autologous iliac crest grafts and posterior instrumentation with posterolateral fusion in the same sitting. Clinical evaluation was done by two questionnaires: the North American Spine Society (NASS) Lumbar Spine Outcome Assessment Instrument and the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). Fusion rate was evaluated radiologically. Mean clinical follow-up was 5.5 years. There was no statistical difference in the occurrence of complications with both approaches nor with the fusion rates of 92% in group 1 and 84% in group 2 respectively. The minimally invasive extraperitoneal approach for ALIF was associated with significantly less intraoperative blood loss, operation time, and length of the skin incision. In addition, this approach showed significant improvement in postoperative back pain in comparison to the conventional approach for ALIF.
ALIF; Conventional; Minimally invasive; Lumbar spine
Percutaneous techniques may be helpful to reduce approach-related morbidity of conventional open surgery. The aim of the study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of mini-open posterior lumbar interbody fusion for instabilities and degenerative disc diseases. From May 2005 until October 2008, 20 patients affected by monosegmental instability and disc herniation underwent mini-open lumbar interbody fusion combined with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation of the lumbar spine. Clinical outcome was assessed using the Visual Analog Scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form Health Survey-36. The mean follow-up was 24 months. The mean estimated blood loss was 126 ml; the mean length of stay was 5.3 days; the mean operative time was 171 min. At 24-month follow-up, the mean VAS score was 2.1, mean ODI was 27.1%, and mean SF-36 was 85.2%. 80 screws were implanted in 20 patients. 74 screws showed very good position, 5 screws acceptable, and 1 screw unacceptable. A solid fusion was achieved in 17 patients (85%). In our opinion, mini-open TLIF is a valid and safe treatment of lumbar instability and degenerative disc diseases in order to obtain faster return to daily activities.
Percutaneous pedicle screw; Minimally invasive fusion; Disc herniation
Anterior access to the lumbar spine is established for disc replacement surgery and anterior interbody fusion in the lumbar spine. The spine is accessed normally from the left side either by a transperitoneal or retroperitoneal approach through a midline or oblique skin incision. After reaching the retroperitoneum and depending on the level of exposure, the surgeon has to mobilise and retract the aorta or left common iliac artery, as well as the left common iliac vein or internal vena cava to the right lateral border to address the whole disc space. The left common iliac artery is especially stretched during intervertebral disc exposure putting it at a greater risk of adverse events. Not surprisingly, vascular adverse events like direct injuries, thrombosis and embolism are feared complications in anterior surgery. Permanent intra-operative left leg oxygen saturation surveillance via pulse oximetry can help detecting embolic situations thereby allowing immediate treatment minimising the leg ischemia or preventing limb loss.
In the presented case, a 61-year-old male patient undergoing a two-level anterior interbody fusion lost oxygen saturation in the left leg after vessel retraction for exposure. After cage insertion and release of the retractor blades, the pulse oximetry signal did not return and no pulses were found during instant Doppler investigation below the femoral artery, indicating severe embolism in the left leg. The left common iliac artery was clamped and opened showing a ruptured calcified plaque with adherent fresh thrombotic material. An endovascular embolectomy in the superficial and deep femoral artery revealed several small thrombi. An artherectomy of the common iliac artery followed by patch closure was performed. Immediately after clamp release, pulse oximetry returned and Doppler signals were detectable at the tibialis posterior and dorsalis pedis artery. Post-operative recovery was uneventful and pulses were palpable at all times.
Arterial adverse events in anterior access surgery are rare complications but none the less, it is of paramount importance to detect and treat these situations immediately. This case highlights the need of routine pulse monitoring during the whole anterior surgery to prevent embolic complications. Even manual pulse control might not be sufficient to rule out any distal embolic events creating severe leg ischemia.
ALIF; Access complications; Embolectomy; Monitoring; Pulse oximetry; Lumbar disc replacement
Lateral transpsoas interbody fusion (LTIF) is a minimally invasive technique that permits interbody fusion utilizing cages placed via a direct lateral retroperitoneal approach. We sought to describe the locations of relevant neurovascular structures based on MRI with respect to this novel surgical approach. We retrospectively reviewed consecutive lumbosacral spine MRI scans in 43 skeletally mature adults. MRI scans were independently reviewed by two readers to identify the location of the psoas muscle, lumbar plexus, femoral nerve, inferior vena cava and right iliac vein. Structures potentially at risk for injury were identified by: a distance from the anterior aspect of the adjacent vertebral bodies of <20 mm, representing the minimum retraction necessary for cage placement, and extension of vascular structures posterior to the anterior vertebral body, requiring anterior retraction. The percentage of patients with neurovascular structures at risk for left-sided approaches was 2.3% at L1–2, 7.0% at L2–3, 4.7% at L3–4 and 20.9% at L4–5. For right-sided approaches, this rose to 7.0% at L1–2, 7.0% at L2–3, 9.3% at L3–4 and 44.2% at L4–5, largely because of the relatively posterior right-sided vasculature. A relationship between the position of psoas muscle and lumbar plexus is described which allows use of the psoas position as a proxy for lumbar plexus position to identify patients who may be at risk, particularly at the L4–5 level. Further study will establish the clinical relevance of these measurements and the ability of neurovascular structures to be retracted without significant injury.
Lateral transpsoas interbody fusion; Minimally invasive surgery; Lumbar plexus anatomy; Spine surgery complications
Degenerative disease of the lumbar spine is common in ageing populations. It causes disturbing back pain, radicular symptoms and lowers the quality of life. We will focus our discussion on the surgical options of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) for lumbar degenerative spinal deformities, which include symptomatic spondylolisthesis and degenerative scoliosis. Through a description of each procedure, we hope to illustrate the potential benefits of TLIF over PLIF. In a retrospective study of 53 ALIF/PLIF patients and 111 TLIF patients we found reduced risk of vessel and nerve injury in TLIF patients due to less exposure of these structures, shortened operative time and reduced intra-operative bleeding. These advantages could be translated to shortened hospital stay, faster recovery period and earlier return to work. The disadvantages of TLIF such as incomplete intervertebral disc and vertebral end-plate removal and potential occult injury to exiting nerve root when under experienced hands are rare. Hence TLIF remains the mainstay of treatment in degenerative deformities of the lumbar spine. However, TLIF being a unilateral transforaminal approach, is unable to decompress the opposite nerve root. This may require contralateral laminotomy, which is a fairly simple procedure. The use of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) to treat degenerative lumbar spinal deformity is still in its early stages. Although the initial results appear promising, it remains a difficult operative procedure to master with a steep learning curve. In a recent study comparing 29 MI-TLIF patients and 29 open TLIF, MI-TLIF was associated with longer operative time, less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, with no difference in SF-36 scores at six months and two years. Whether it can replace traditional TLIF as the surgery of choice for degenerative lumbar deformity remains unknown and more studies are required to validate the safety and efficiency.
Degenerative spine; lumbar spine fusion; minimally invasive transforaminal fusion
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.
Key words Microsurgery; Lumbar spine; Mini ALIF; Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
This is a retrospective study.
To evaluate the advantages and effects of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) using allograft and posterior instrumentation in the lumbar pyogenic discitis, which are resistant to antibiotics.
Overview of Literature
To present preliminary results of PLIF using a compressive bone graft with allograft and pedicle screw fixation in the lumbar pyogenic discitis.
Fifteen patients who had lumbar pyogenic discitis were treated by posterior approach from May 2004 to July 2008. The mean follow-up duration was 27.2 ± 18.68 months. The standing radiographs of the lumbar spine and clinical results were compared and analyzed in order to assess the bony union, the changes in the distance between the two vertebral bodies and the changes in the lordotic angle formed between the fused bodies immediately after surgery and at the final follow-up.
Fifteen solid unions at an average of 15.2 ± 3.5 weeks after operation. The mean preoperative lordotic angle of the affected segments was 14.3 ± 15.1°, compared to 20.3 ± 12.3° after surgery and 19.8 ± 15.2° at last follow-up. For the functional result according to the Kirkaldy-Willis criteria, the outcome was excellent in 9, good in 5, fair in 1, and there were no poor cases. The average visual analogue scale score was decreased from 7.4 before surgery to 3.4 at 2 weeks postoperative.
The main advantage in the procedure of PLIF using compressive bone graft with allograft and post instrumentation is early ambulation. We believe that this is another good procedure for patients with poor general condition because a further autograft bone harvest is not required.
Lumbar spine; Discitis; Posterior lumbar interbody fusion; Homologous transplantation
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.
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF); Low back pain; Spinal fusion; Lumbar fusion; Interbody fusion
Interbody lumbar fusions provide a proven logical solution to diseases of the intervertebral discs by eliminating motion of the segment. Historically, there are many techniques to achieve spinal fusion in the lumbar spine. These include anterior, posterior, and foramenal approaches, often in combination with various internal fixation devices. The surgeon's choice of the approach and mechanical or biological implant is dependent on the patient's specific pathology and anatomy, in addition to the experience and training of the surgeon in similar conditions. In the past decade, new mechanical spine implants/spacers have been designed to provide restoration of disc height and improve stabilization of the spine. The ability to radiographically assess the "biology" of bone incorporation in these mechanical (metal) spacers has become a significant limitation.
The femoral ring allograft (FRA) and the posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) spacers have been developed as "biological cages" that permit restoration of the anterior column with machined allograft bone biological cages. Test results demonstrate that the FRA and PLIF spacers have a compressive strength of over 25,000 N. The pyramid-shaped teeth on the surfaces and the geometry of the implant increase the resistance to expulsion at clinically relevant loads (1053 and 1236 N). The technique of anterior column reconstruction with both the FRA and the PLIF biological cages have been previously reported.
Clinical outcomes and experience with the FRA spacer (137 patients) and the PLIF spacer (13 patients) were reported on and did not reveal any evidence of bone cage resorption or infectious inflammatory process. There was clinical migration with one PLIF spacer, which was later revised with an anterior approach and a FRA spacer. The radiographic outcomes demonstrated that 94% arthrodesis was achieved with the biological spacer and additional posterior instrumentation. The clinical success of every spine fusion procedure is dependent on many factors such as the extent of the instability, the pathology, type of graft used, the patient's pathology/anatomy and lifestyle.
Biological cages Femoral ring allograft spacer Posterior lumbar interbody fusion spacer Interbody lumbar fusion Arthrodesis
The purpose of this study was to compare posterior and anterior surgical approach in combination with debridement, interbody autografting and instrumentation for thoracic and lumbar tuberculosis. These approaches were compared in terms of the operation duration, intraoperative blood loss, bony fusion, intraoperative and postoperative complications, neurological status and the angle of kyphosis.
Forty-seven patients with thoracic and lumbar tuberculosis who underwent either the posterior or the anterior approach in combination with debridement, interbody autografting and instrumentation from January 2004 to March 2010 were reviewed retrospectively. In group A (n = 25), the posterior approach was combined with debridement, interbody autografting and instrumentation. In group B (n = 22), the anterior approach was performed in addition to debridement, interbody autografting and instrumentation.
All cases were followed up for 12–62 months. There was no statistically significant difference between groups in terms of the operation duration, intraoperative blood loss, bony fusion, intraoperative and postoperative complications, neurological status and the angle of kyphosis (p > 0.05). Good clinical outcomes were achieved in both groups.
The posterior approach combined with debridement, interbody autografting and instrumentation is an alternative procedure to treat thoracic and lumbar tuberculosis. The posterior approach is sufficient for lesion debridement. In addition, the posterior approach can maintain spinal stabilisation and prevent loss of corrected vertebral alignment as effectively as the anterior approach.
The availability of lumbar interbody cages has fuelled renewed interest in interbody fusion. Despite this, there is no consensus regarding the best non-invasive method for evaluation of interbody fusion, especially where cages have been used. The purpose of this study was to determine whether high-quality thin-slice (1- to 3-mm) computed tomography (CT) scans allow proper evaluation of interbody fusion through titanium cages. Patients undergoing lumbar interbody fusion were prospectively evaluated with CT scan and plain radiographs 6 months following surgery. These images were blindly and independently evaluated by a consultant radiologist and a spine research fellow, for bridging bony trabeculation both through and surrounding the cages as well as for changes at the cage endplate interface. Fifty-three patients (156 cages) undergoing posterior lumbar interbody fusion using titanium interbody cages were evaluated. Posterior elements were used to pack the cages and no graft was packed outside the cages. The outcome data were analysed using the Kappa co-efficient and chi-squared analysis. On CT scan, both observers noted bridging trabeculation in 95% of the cages (Kappa 0.85), while on radiographs this was present in only 4% (Kappa 0.74). Both observers also identified bridging trabeculation surrounding the cages on CT scan in 90% of cages (Kappa 0.82), while on the radiographs this was 8% (Kappa 0.86). Radiographs also failed to demonstrate all the loose cages. The results of the study show that high-quality CT scans show images suggesting bridging bony trabeculae following the use of titanium interbody cages. They also appear to show consistent bone outside the cages in spite of no bone graft having been used, and they appear to be better than plain radiographs in the early detection of cage loosening.
Lumbar interbody fusion; Plain radiographs; CT
Degenerative spinal stenosis and instability requiring multilevel spine surgery has been associated with large blood losses. Factors that affect perioperative blood loss include time of surgery, surgical procedure, patient height, combined anterior/posterior approaches, number of levels fused, blood salvage techniques, and the use of anti-fibrinolytic medications. This study was done to evaluate the efficacy of tranexamic acid in reducing blood loss in spine surgery.
This retrospective case control study includes 97 patients who had to undergo surgery because of degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis and instability. All operations included spinal decompression, interbody fusion and posterior instrumentation (4-5 segments). Forty-six patients received 1 g tranexamic acid intravenous, preoperative and six hours and twelve hours postoperative; 51 patients without tranexamic acid administration were evaluated as a control group. Based on the records, the intra- and postoperative blood losses were measured by evaluating the drainage and cell saver systems 6, 12 and 24 hours post operation. Additionally, hemoglobin concentration and platelet concentration were reviewed. Furthermore, the number of red cell transfusions given and complications associated with tranexamic acid were assessed.
The postoperative hemoglobin concentration demonstrated a statistically significant difference with a p value of 0.0130 showing superiority for tranexamic acid use (tranexamic acid group: 11.08 g/dl, SD: 1.68; control group: 10.29 g/dl, SD: 1.39). The intraoperative cell saver volume and drainage volume after 24 h demonstrated a significant difference as well, which indicates a less blood loss in the tranexamic acid group than the control group. The postoperative drainage volume at12 hours showed no significant differences; nor did the platelet concentration Allogenic blood transfusion (two red cell units) was needed for eight patients in the tranexamic acid group and nine in the control group because of postoperative anemia. Complications associated with the administration of tranexamic acid, e.g. renal failure, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism did not occur.
This study suggests a less blood loss when administering tranexamic acid in posterior lumbar spine surgery as demonstrated by the higher postoperative hemoglobin concentration and the less blood loss. But given the relatively small volume of blood loss in the patients of this study it is underpowered to show a difference in transfusion rates.
This is a case-series comparison of two approaches to anterior lumbar interbody fusion. A conventional open approach (COA) was compared with a balloon-assisted minimally invasive approach (BMI). Outcome measures included operating time, blood loss and complications. Secondary outcome measures included analgesia requirements, time to mobilization and inpatient stay. There were 17 females (7 COA, 10 BMI) and 18 males (9 COA and 9 BMI). Forty-five discs (21 COA, 24 BMI) in total were fused in 35 patients. There were significant differences (in favour of the BMI) in the overall operating time between the COA and the BMI, and the single level COA and the BMI. There was no inter-group difference in the PCA requirements either overall or between one or two-level operations. The less invasive approach did have a benefit in earlier mobilization of the single-level fusions.
Lumbar spine; Interbody fusion; Less invasive surgery; Balloon assisted
There are technical limitations of multi-level posterior pedicle screw fixation performed by the percutaneous technique. The purpose of this study was to describe the surgical technique and outcome of minimally invasive multi-level posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and to determine its efficacy.
Forty-two patients who underwent mini-open PLIF using the percutaneous screw fixation system were studied. The mean age of the patients was 59.1 (range, 23 to 78 years). Two levels were involved in 32 cases and three levels in 10 cases. The clinical outcome was assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Low Back Outcome Score (LBOS). Achievement of radiological fusion, intra-operative blood loss, the midline surgical scar and procedure related complications were also analyzed.
The mean follow-up period was 25.3 months. The mean LBOS prior to surgery was 34.5, which was improved to 49.1 at the final follow up. The mean pain score (VAS) prior to surgery was 7.5 and it was decreased to 2.9 at the last follow up. The mean estimated blood loss was 238 mL (140-350) for the two level procedures and 387 mL (278-458) for three levels. The midline surgical scar was 6.27 cm for two levels and 8.25 cm for three level procedures. Complications included two cases of asymptomatic medial penetration of the pedicle border. However, there were no signs of neurological deterioration or fusion failure.
Multi-level, minimally invasive PLIF can be performed effectively using the percutaneous transpedicular screw fixation system. It can be an alternative to the traditional open procedures.
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion; Percutaneous; Minimally invasive surgery
This study is to compare the therapeutic effect of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with pedicle screw fixation on treatment in adult degenerative spondylolisthesis. A retrospective analysis of 187 patients to compare the complications and associated predictive factors of the two techniques of one level lumbar fusion. Ninety-one had PLIF with two cages and pedicle fixation (group 1), and ninety-six had TLIF with one cage and pedicle fixation (group 2). The two groups had similar age and sex distribution, and level of pain. Inclusion criteria and outcome measurements were identical in both groups. The two groups were operated on with autograft and cage with pedicle fixation. Before surgery and at the 2-year follow-up, pain (VAS) and functional disability (JOA) were quantified. The results showed there were no intraoperative deaths in our study. In the end 176 cases had 2-year follow-up while 11 cases were lost to follow-up. The follow-up rate was 93.4% (85/91) in the PLIF group and 94.8% (91/96) in the TLIF group. All patients had bone fusion, and there were no cases of cage extrusion. The pain index improved from 7.08 ± 1.13 to 2.84 ± 0.89 in PLIF patients and improved from 7.18 ± 1.09 to 2.84 ± 0.91 in TLIF patients (P < 0.001). There were 42 cases of excellent, 29 cases of good, 11 cases of general, and 3 cases of poor results in PLIF group. There were 46 cases of excellent, 31 case of good, 12 case of general, and 2 cases of poor results in TLIF group. The JOA score in all patients was 84.1% of good or excellent (83.5% in PLIF and 84.6% in TLIF, P > 0.05). The average preoperative slip was 30.1 ± 7.2% in PLIF group while in the TLIF it was 31.4 ± 8.3%. Immediately post operatively it was reduced to 7.3 ± 2.1% and 7.4 ± 2.7% and at last F/U it was 8.1 ± 2.8% and 8.2 ± 2.6%, respectively. The average of reduction rate was 75.2 ± 6.4% in PLIF and 75.4 ± 6.2 in TLIF on the initial post operatively X-ray, and 72.6 ± 5.2% and 72.4 ± 5.4% on the follow-up. The percentage rate, reduction rate and lost of reduction rate between the two groups was similar (P > 0.05). The average pre operative disk and foramen height in the PLIF group improved from 6.8 ± 2.3 and 14.2 ± 1.7 preoperatively to 11.6 ± 1.5 and 18.7 ± 1.8 post operatively, respectively. At last follow up there was minimal lost of correction down to 11.24 ± 1.2 and 18.1 ± 1.8, respectively. Similarly in the TLIF group, pre operative disk and foramen height were improved from 6.7 ± 1.7 and 14.1 ± 1.8 to 11.4 ± 1.6 and 18.5 ± 1.6 immediately post operative. At last follow up minimal lost of correction was noted with average disc height of 11.3 ± 1.4 and 18.2 ± 1.7. Both techniques achieve statistical significance in restoration of disc and foraminal (P < 0.01); however, there was no statistical difference between the two techniques. In conclusion, interbody fusion with either a PLIF technique or a TLIF technique provides good outcomes in the treatment of adult degenerative spondylolisthesis. The TLIF procedure is simpler and is as safe and effective as the PLIF technique.
Spondyolisthesis; Interverterbral fusion; Internal fixation
Minimally invasive lumbar fusion techniques have only recently been developed. The goals of these procedures are to reduce approach-related soft tissue injury, postoperative pain and disability while allowing the surgery to be conducted in an effective manner. There have been no prospective clinical reports published on the comparison of one-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion in low-grade spondylolisthesis performed with an independent blade retractor system or a traditional open approach. A prospective clinical study of 85 consecutive cases of degenerative and isthmic lower grade spondylolisthesis treated by minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MiTLIF) or open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (OTLIF) was done. A total of 85 patients suffering from degenerative spondylolisthesis (n = 46) and isthmic spondylolisthesis (n = 39) underwent one-level MiTLIF (n = 42) and OTLIF (n = 43) by two experienced surgeons at one hospital, from June 2006 to March 2008 (minimum 13-month follow-up). The following data were compared between the two groups: the clinical and radiographic results, operative time, blood loss, transfusion needs, X-ray exposure time, postoperative back pain, length of hospital stay, and complications. Clinical outcome was assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry disability index. The operative time, clinical and radiographic results were basically identical in both groups. Comparing with the OTLIF group, the MiTLIF group had significantly lesser blood loss, lesser need for transfusion, lesser postoperative back pain, and shorter length of hospital stay. The radiation time was significantly longer in MiTLIF group. One case of nonunion was observed from each group. Minimally invasive TLIF has similar surgical efficacy with the traditional open TLIF in treating one-level lower grade degenerative or isthmic spondylolisthesis. The minimally invasive technique offers several potential advantages including smaller incisions, less tissue trauma and quicker recovery. However, this technique needs longer X-ray exposure time.
Comparison; Minimally invasive surgery; Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; Isthmic and degenerative spondylolisthesis
The aim is to evalute the outcome of posterior lumbar interbody fusion with autologous bone graft versus titanium Cages, BAK system (Bagby – Kuslich, Spine Tech, Inc. Minneapolis, MN) for low grade spondyloisthesis (Grade1,11). Interbody cages have been developed to replace tricortical Interbody grafts in posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) procedures. The cages provide immediate post operative stability and facilitate bony union with cancellous bone packed in the cage itself.
We Evaluated 50 consecutive patients in whom surgery was performed between June 2000 to June 2003 in the Main Alexandria University Hospital at EGYPT. Twenty five patients were operated using autologous bone graft and 25 patients using the BAK cages. The neuro–radiologic al work up consisted of; plain X – ray lumbosacral spine including dynamic films preoperative and postoperative follow up; C.T lumbosacral spine and MRI lumbosacral spine.
The surgery was performed at L4-5 level in 34 cases and at L5-S1 level in 16 cases. The median follow up was 15 months.
Satisfactory fusion was obtained at all levels at a minimum one year follow – up. The fusion rate was 96% (24 patients) for the cage group and 80% (20 patients) for bone graft group however clinical improvement was 64% (16 patients) for those with bone graft group.
A higher fusion rates and a better clinical outcome have been obtained by Instrumented PLIF with titanium cages that with bone graft.
Inderbody fusion cages help to stabilize spainal segment primarily by distracting them as well as by allowing bone ingrowth and fusion. The procedure is safe and effective with 96% fusion rate and 76% overall Satisfactory rate.
The use of cages help to distract the space between the vertebral bodies making the correction of the degree of spondylolisthesis easier.
Long term follow up revealed better fusion rate and better realignment and less resorption with cages than with bone grafts.
Extreme/direct lateral interbody fusion (X/DLIF) has been used to treat various lumbar diseases. However, it involves risks to injure the lumbar plexus and abdominal large vessels when it gains access to the lumbar spine via lateral approach that passes through the retroperitoneal fat and psoas major muscle. This study was aimed to determine the distribution of psoas major and abdominal large vessels at lumbar intervertebral spaces in order to select an appropriate X/DLIF approach to avoid nerve and large vessels injury. Magnetic resonance imaging scanning on lumbar intervertebral spaces was performed in 48 patients (24 males, 24 females, 54.2 years on average). According to Moro’s method, lumbar intervertebral space was divided into six zones A, I, II, III, IV and P. Thickness of psoas major was measured and distribution of abdominal large vessels was surveyed at each zone. The results show vena cava migrate from the right of zone A to the right of zone I at L1/2–L4/5; abdominal aorta was located mostly to the left of zone A at L1/2–L3/4 and divided into bilateral iliac arteries at L4/5; Psoas major was tenuous and dorsal at L1/2 and L2/3, large and ventral at L3/4 and L4/5. Combined with the distribution of nerve roots reported by Moro, X/DLIF approach is safe via zones II–III at L1/2 and L2/3, and via zone II at L3/4. At L4/5, it is safe via zones I–II in left and via zone II in right side, respectively.
X/DLIF; Psoas Major; Abdominal large vessels; MRI Study
Multiple anterior and posterior approaches to the thoracic disc space have been reported. However, we are not aware of any previous reports describing a transforaminal approach for thoracic disc release and interbody cage placement. In this case report, we describe a method to perform transforaminal thoracic interbody fusion (TTIF), which is an adaptation of an established lumbar fusion technique (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion). Key differences between the two procedures are discussed. A 24-year-old woman presented after sustaining a T11-12 Chance fracture that had been treated in a brace. She had severe, debilitating pain and a rigid segmental kyphotic deformity of 38°. The patient was treated 3 months post-injury with T10-L1 fusion with anterior release and interbody fusion with cage placement at T11-12. Anterior column release and fusion were performed via a transforaminal approach. The patient had anatomic reduction of deformity, solid arthrodesis, and relief of pain at 1-year follow-up. The TTIF approach permits access to the anterior column of the thoracic spine for the purpose of reduction of deformity and interbody fusion with reduced morbidity compared to anterior–posterior surgery.
transforaminal; thoracic; interbody; fusion; Chance fracture
Lumbar spinal fusion is advancing with minimally invasive techniques, bone graft alternatives, and new implants. This has resulted in significant reductions of operative time, duration of hospitalization, and higher success in fusion rates. However, costs have increased as many new technologies are expensive. This study was carried out to investigate the clinical outcomes and fusion rates of a low implant load construct of unilateral pedicle screws and a translaminar screw in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) which reduced the cost of the posterior implants by almost 50%. Nineteen consecutive patients who underwent single level TLIF with this construct were included in the study. Sixteen patients had a TLIF allograft interbody spacer placed, while in three a polyetheretherketone (PEEK) cage was used. Follow-up ranged from 15 to 54 months with a mean of 32 months. A clinical and radiographic evaluation was carried out preoperatively and at multiple time points following surgery. An overall improvement in Oswestry scores and visual analogue scales for leg and back pain (VAS) was observed. Three patients underwent revision surgery due to recurrence of back pain. All patients showed radiographic evidence of fusion from 9 to 26 months (mean 19) following surgery. This study suggests that unilateral pedicle screws and a contralateral translaminar screw are a cheaper and viable option for single level lumbar fusion.
Translaminar screw; Transforaminal interbody fusion; Allograft; Polyetheretherketone cage
Utilization of the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) approach for scoliosis offers the patients deformity correction and interbody fusion without the additional morbidity associated with more invasive reconstructive techniques. Published reports on complications associated with these surgical procedures are limited. The purpose of this study was to quantify the intra- and postoperative complications associated with the TLIF surgical approach in patients undergoing surgery for spinal stenosis and degenerative scoliosis correction.
This study included patients undergoing TLIF for degenerative scoliosis with neurogenic claudication and painful lumbar degenerative disc disease. The TLIF technique was performed along with posterior pedicle screw instrumentation. The average follow-up time was 30 months (range, 15–47).
A total of 29 patients with an average age of 65.9 years (range, 49–83) were evaluated. TLIFs were performed at 2.2 levels on average (range, 1–4) in addition to 6.0 (range, 4–9) levels of posterolateral instrumented fusion. The preoperative mean lumbar lordosis was 37.6° (range, 16°–55°) compared to 40.5° (range, 26°–59.2°) postoperatively. The preoperative mean coronal Cobb angle was 32.3° (range, 15°–55°) compared to 15.4° (range, 1°–49°) postoperatively. The mean operative time was 528 min (range, 276–906), estimated blood loss was 1091.7 mL (range, 150–2500), and hospitalization time was 8.0 days (range, 3–28). A baseline mean Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score of 7.6 (range, 4–10) decreased to 3.6 (range, 0–8) postoperatively. There were a total of 14 (49%) hardware and/or surgical technique related complications, and 8 (28%) patients required additional surgeries. Five (17%) patients developed pseudoarthrosis. The systemic complications (31%) included death (1), cardiopulmonary arrest with resuscitation (1), myocardial infarction (1), pneumonia (5), and pulmonary embolism (1).
This study suggests that although the TLIF approach is a feasible and effective method to treat degenerative adult scoliosis, it is associated with a high rate of intra- and postoperative complications and a long recovery process.
Adult scoliosis; complications; degenerative spine; lumbar stenosis; transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
Spinal fusion historically has been used extensively, and, recently, the lateral transpsoas approach to the thoracic and lumbar spine has become an increasingly common method to achieve fusion. Recent literature on this approach has elucidated its advantage over more traditional anterior and posterior approaches, which include a smaller tissue dissection, potentially lower blood loss, no need for an access surgeon, and a shorter hospital stay. Indications for the procedure have now expanded to include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, degenerative scoliosis, nonunion, trauma, infection, and low-grade spondylolisthesis. Lateral interbody fusion has a similar if not lower rate of complications compared to traditional anterior and posterior approaches to interbody fusion. However, lateral interbody fusion has unique complications that include transient neurologic symptoms, motor deficits, and neural injuries that range from 1 to 60% in the literature. Additional studies are required to further evaluate and monitor the short- and long-term safety, efficacy, outcomes, and complications of lateral transpsoas procedures.
This paper reviews the current published data regarding open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) in relation to minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF). Introduction. MI-TLIF, a modern method for lumbar interbody arthrodesis, has allowed for a minimally invasive method to treat degenerative spinal pathologies. Currently, there is limited literature that compares TLIF directly to MI-TLIF. Thus, we seek to discuss the current literature on these techniques. Methods. Using a PubMed search, we reviewed recent publications of open and MI-TLIF, dating from 2002 to 2012. We discussed these studies and their findings in this paper, focusing on patient-reported outcomes as well as complications. Results. Data found in 14 articles of the literature was analyzed. Using these reports, we found mean follow-up was 20 months. The mean patient study size was 52. Seven of the articles directly compared outcomes of open TLIF with MI-TLIF, such as mean duration of surgery, length of post-operative stay, blood loss, and complications. Conclusion. Although high-class data comparing these two techniques is lacking, the current evidence supports MI-TLIF with outcomes comparable to that of the traditional, open technique. Further prospective, randomized studies will help to further our understanding of this minimally invasive technique.