Minimally invasive surgery: lateral approach interbody fusion: results and review

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 Dec 15;35(26 Suppl):S302-11. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182023438.


Study design: A retrospective review of patients treated at 2 institutions with anterior lumbar interbody fusion using a minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal approach, and review of literature.

Objective: To analyze the outcomes from historical literature and from a retrospectively compiled database of patients having undergone anterior interbody fusions performed through a lateral approach.

Summary of background data: A paucity of published literature exists describing outcomes following lateral approach fusion surgery.

Methods: Patients treated with extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) were identified through retrospective chart review. Treatment variables included operating room (OR) time, estimated blood loss (EBL), length of hospital stay (LOS), complications, and fusion rate. A literature review, using the National Center for Biotechnology Information databases PubMed/MEDLINE and Google Scholar, yielded 14 peer-reviewed articles reporting outcomes scoring, complications, fusion status, long-term follow-up, and radiographic assessments related to XLIF. Published XLIF results were summarized and evaluated with current study data.

Results: A total of 84 XLIF patients were included in the current cohort analysis. OR time, EBL, and length of hospital stay averaged 199 minutes, 155 mL, and 2.6 days, respectively, and perioperative and postoperative complication rates were 2.4% and 6.1%. Mean follow-up was 15.7 months. Sixty-eight patients showed evidence of solid arthrodesis and no subsidence on computed tomography and flexion/extension radiographs. Results were within the ranges of those in the literature. Literature review identified reports of significant improvements in clinical outcomes scores, radiographic measures, and cost effectiveness.

Conclusion: Current data corroborates and contributes to the existing body of literature describing XLIF outcomes. Procedures are generally performed with short OR times, minimal EBL, and few complications. Patients recover quickly, requiring minimal hospital stay, although transient hip/thigh pain and/or weakness is common. Long-term outcomes are generally favorable, with maintained improvements in patient-reported pain and function scores as well as radiographic parameters, including high rates of fusion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome