Study design: A retrospective study.
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical and radiological outcomes of mini-open ALIF (MO-ALIF) with self-anchored stand-alone cages for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation in comparison with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF).
Summary of background data: Currently, whether ALIF is superior to TLIF for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation remains controversial.
Methods: This study retrospectively reviewed 82 patients who underwent MO-ALIF with self-anchored standalone cages (n = 42) or TLIF (n = 40) for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation between April 2013 and October 2014. Patient demographics, intraoperative parameters, and perioperative complications were collated. Clinical outcomes were evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) scoring, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for pain in the leg and back, and radiological outcomes, including fusion, lumbar lordosis (LL), disc height (DH), and cage subsidence were evaluated at each follow-up for up to 2 years.
Results: Patients who underwent TLIF had a significantly higher volume of blood loss (295.2 ± 81.4 vs. 57.0 ± 15.2 mL) and longer surgery time (130.7 ± 45.1 vs. 60.4 ± 20.8 min) than those who had MO-ALIF. Compared with baseline, both groups had significant improvements in the VAS and ODI scores and DH and LL postoperatively, though no significant difference was found between the two groups regarding these indexes. All patients reached solid fusion at the final follow-up in both groups. Three patients (3/42) with three levels (3/50) suffered from cage subsidence in the MO-ALIF group; meanwhile, no cage subsidence occurred in the TLIF group.
Conclusion: MO-ALIF with self-anchored stand-alone cages is a safe and effective treatment of lumbar disc herniation with less surgical trauma and similar clinical and radiological outcomes compared with TLIF.
Level of evidence: 3.