The objectives of this study were to examine charge data and long-term outcomes of two approaches for anterior lumbar interbody fusion: a mini-open lateral approach (extreme lateral interbody fusion, XLIF) and an open anterior approach (anterior lumbar interbody fusion, ALIF) through retrospective chart review. A total of 202 patients underwent surgery: 87 with ALIF (Open) and 115 with XLIF (Mini-open) procedures, all with transpedicular fixation. Complications occurred in 16.7% of Open, and 8.2% of Mini-open, procedures (p = 0.041). The mean charges ($US) for one-level Mini-open and Open procedures were $91,995 and $102,146, and for two-level procedures were $124,540 and $144,183, respectively. All differences were statistically significant (p < 0.05). This represents a 10% cost-savings, based on charges, for one-level and 13.6% for two-level Mini-open compared to Open procedures. Functional outcomes improved significantly at two years for both cohorts, although the difference between groups was not statistically significant. In conclusion, the Mini-open approach, compared to the Open, resulted in clinical as well as cost benefits with similar long-term outcomes.
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