Complications of lateral plating in the minimally invasive lateral transpsoas approach

J Neurosurg Spine. 2012 Mar;16(3):302-7. doi: 10.3171/2011.11.SPINE11653. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Object: The aim of this study was to review the authors' experience with 101 cases over the past 3 years with minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion using a lateral plate. Their main goal was to specifically look for hardware-associated complications. Three cases of hardware failure and 3 cases of vertebral body (VB) fractures associated with lateral plate placement are reported. The authors also review the literature pertaining to lateral plates and related complications.

Methods: This study is a retrospective review of a database of patients who underwent minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion in the thoracolumbar spine during a 3-year period.

Results: Six complications were identified, resulting in an incidence of 5.9%. Three hardware failures, 2 coronal plane VB fractures, and 1 lateral VB fracture were identified. All complications occurred in multilevel cases. All cases presented with recurrent back pain except one, which was identified incidentally.

Conclusions: Minimally invasive lateral interbody fusion is a safe and direct technique that is practical, especially when trying to avoid other approaches for hardware insertion, and it also avoids the complications associated with other types of instrumentation such as pedicle screws. Careful consideration during patient selection and during the operation will aid in the avoidance of complications.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Plates*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery*
  • Spinal Fusion / instrumentation
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*