Prospective controlled study.
The results of conventional open surgery was compared with those from minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) for lumbar fusion to determine which approach resulted in less postoperative paraspinal muscle degeneration.
Overview of Literature
MI TLIF is new surgical technique that appears to minimize iatrogenic injury. However, there aren't any reports yet that have quantitatively analyzed and proved whether there's difference in back muscle injury and degeneration between the minimally invasive surgery and conventional open surgery in more than 1 year follow-up after surgery.
This study examined a consecutive series of 48 patients who underwent lumbar fusion in our hospital during the period, March 2006 to March 2008, with a 1-year follow-up evaluation using MRI. There were 17 cases of conventional open surgery and 31 cases of MI-TLIF (31 cases of single segment fusion and 17 cases of multi-segment fusion). The digital images of the paravertebral back muscles were analyzed and compared using the T2-weighted axial images. The point of interest was the paraspinal muscle of the intervertebral disc level from L1 to L5. Picture archiving and communication system viewing software was used for quantitative analysis of the change in fat infiltration percentage and the change in cross-sectional area of the paraspinal muscle, before and after surgery.
A comparison of the traditional posterior fusion method with MI-TLIF revealed single segment fusion to result in an average increase in fat infiltration in the paraspinal muscle of 4.30% and 1.37% and a decrease in cross-sectional area of 0.10 and 0.07 before and after surgery, respectively. Multi-segment fusion showed an average 7.90% and 2.79% increase in fat infiltration and a 0.16 and 0.10 decrease in cross-sectional area, respectively. Both single and multi segment fusion showed less change in the fat infiltration percentage and cross-sectional area, particularly in multi segment fusion. There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of the radiologic results.
A comparison of conventional open surgery with MI-TLIF upon degeneration of the paraspinal muscle with a 1 year follow-up evaluation revealed that both single and multi segment fusion showed less change in fat infiltration percentage and cross-sectional area in the MI-TLIF but there was no significant difference between the two groups. This suggests that as time passes after surgery, there is no significant difference in the level of degeneration of the paraspinal muscle between surgical techniques.