Background Obesity is an increasing public health concern associated with increased perioperative complications and expense in lumbar spine fusions. While open and mini-open fusions such as transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and minimally invasive TLIF (MIS-TLIF) are more challenging in obese patients, new MIS procedures like oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion (OLLIF) may improve perioperative outcomes in obese patients relative to TLIF and MIS-TLIF. Purpose The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of obesity on perioperative outcomes in OLLIF, MIS-TLIF, and TLIF. Study design This is a retrospective cohort study. Patient sample We included patients who underwent OLLIF, MIS-TLIF, or TLIF on three or fewer spinal levels at a single Minnesota hospital after conservative therapy had failed. Indications included in this study were degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, herniation, stenosis, and scoliosis. Outcome measures We measured demographic information, body mass index (BMI), surgery time, blood loss, and hospital stay. Methods We performed summary statistics to compare perioperative outcomes in MIS-TLIF, OLLIF, and TLIF. We performed multivariate regression to determine the effects of BMI on perioperative outcomes controlling for demographics and number of levels on which surgeries were operated. Results OLLIF significantly reduces surgery time, blood loss, and hospital stay compared to MIS-TLIF, and TLIF for all levels. MIS-TLIF and TLIF do not differ significantly except for a slight reduction in hospital stay for two-level procedures. On multivariate analysis, a one-point increase in BMI increased surgery time by 0.56 ± 0.47 minutes (p = 0.24) in the OLLIF group, by 2.8 ± 1.43 minutes (p = 0.06) in the MIS-TLIF group, and by 1.7 ± 0.43 minutes (p < 0.001) in the TLIF group. BMI has positive effects on blood loss for TLIF (p < 0.001) but not for OLLIF (p = 0.68) or MIS-TLIF (p = 0.67). BMI does not have significant effects on length of hospital stay for any procedure. Conclusions Obesity is associated with increased surgery time and blood loss in TLIF and with increased surgery time in MIS-TLIF. Increased surgery time may be associated with increased perioperative complications and cost. In OLLIF, BMI does not affect perioperative outcomes. Therefore, OLLIF may reduce the disparity in outcomes and cost between obese and non-obese patients.
Keywords: disk disease; fusion; lumbar spine; minimally invasive; obesity; operative surgical procedures; spinal fusion; transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion.