Introduction: The aim of this study is to report our 6-year single-center experience with L5-S1 axial lumbar interbody fusion (AxiaLIF).
Methods: A total of 131 patients with symptomatic degenerative disc disease refractory to nonsurgical treatment were treated with AxiaLIF at L5-S1, and were followed for a minimum of 1 year (mean: 21 months). Main outcomes included back and leg pain severity, Oswestry Disability Index score, working status, analgesic medication use, patient satisfaction, and complications. Computed tomography was used to determine postoperative fusion status.
Results: No intraoperative complications, including vascular, neural, urologic, or bowel injuries, were reported. Back and leg pain severity decreased by 51% and 42%, respectively, during the follow-up period (both P < 0.001). Back function scores improved 50% compared to baseline. Clinical success, defined as improvement ≥30%, was 67% for back pain severity, 65% for leg pain severity, and 71% for back function. The employment rate increased from 47% before surgery to 64% at final follow-up (P < 0.001). Less than one in four patients regularly used analgesic medications postsurgery. Patient satisfaction with the AxiaLIF procedure was 83%. The fusion rate was 87.8% at final follow-up. During follow-up, 17 (13.0%) patients underwent 18 reoperations on the lumbar spine, including pedicle screw fixation (n = 10), total disc replacement of an uninvolved level (n = 3), facet screw fixation (n = 3), facet screw removal (n = 1), and interbody fusion at L4-L5 (n = 1). Eight (6.1%) reoperations were at the index level.
Conclusion: Single-level AxiaLIF is a safe and effective means to achieve lumbosacral fusion in patients with symptomatic degenerative disc disease.
Keywords: AxiaLIF; fusion; interbody; lumbosacral; minimally invasive; presacral.