Bony Lateral Recess Stenosis and Other Radiographic Predictors of Failed Indirect Decompression via Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion: Multi-Institutional Analysis of 101 Consecutive Spinal Levels

World Neurosurg. 2017 Oct;106:819-826. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.07.045. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


Objective: Although extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) largely provides successful indirect decompression, some patients have recurrent same-level pain and functional disability. Identifying risk factors for this failure would facilitate better patient selection and improve outcomes. The aim of this study is to identify preoperative radiographic risk factors for failure of XLIF.

Methods: Patients undergoing XLIF were prospectively enrolled by 3 surgeons at 3 separate institutions. Radiographic variables measured included (1) anterior and posterior disc height, (2) foramen height and area, (3) central canal diameter, (4) central canal area, (5) right and left subarticular diameters, (6) facet arthropathy grade, and (7) presence of bony lateral recess stenosis. Patients failed indirect decompression if Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores did not improve by 20 points or revision surgery was required within 6 months postoperatively. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify radiographic predictors of failure of indirect decompression.

Results: Of the 45 patients (age 65.6 ± 10.5 years; 14 male) involving 101 spinal levels included in this study, 13 (29%) failed indirect decompression. From univariate analysis, these patients had significantly smaller central canal diameter, foraminal height, and disc height (P < 0.05). In multivariate analysis of these parameters and those trending toward significance, bony lateral recess stenosis was the only significant independent predictor for failure of indirect decompression (coefficient, 0.55 [0.24-0.85]; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Bony lateral recess stenosis is an independent predictor for failure to achieve adequate spinal decompression via XLIF and thus may benefit from undergoing direct decompression.

Keywords: Indirect decompression; Lateral access; Lateral recess stenosis; Patient selection; Radiographic predictors; Risk factors; XLIF.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Decompression, Surgical / adverse effects*
  • Decompression, Surgical / trends
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Fusion / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Fusion / trends
  • Spinal Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Stenosis / surgery*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome