Introduction: Surgeons use numerous arthrodesis strategies for fusion of the lumbosacral junction including anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) and axial lumbar interbody fusion (AxiaLIF). The optimal L5-S1 fusion strategy remains inconclusive. The purpose of this study is to compare the fate of the lumbosacral junction in ALIF versus AxiaLIF patients in terms of clinical and radiographic outcomes.
Methods: Adult spinal deformity patients, treated with CMIS techniques, with at least 2-year follow-up who underwent AxiaLIF or ALIF at the lumbosacral junction were included. Patients were separated into two groups: AxiaLIF (56 patients) and ALIF (38 patients). Outcome measures included segmental lordosis, sagittal vertical alignment, lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence-LL mismatch, and pseudarthrosis, major complication, and revision surgery rates.
Results: The ALIF group achieved greater postoperative and delta segmental lordosis, higher delta sagittal vertical alignment, higher delta LL, and lower postoperative pelvic incidence-LL mismatch. The pseudarthrosis, major complication, and revision surgery rates were higher in the AxiaLIF group. Five cases of pseudarthrosis at L5-S1 were seen, all in the AxiaLIF group.
Discussion and conclusion: ALIF patients showed more favorable radiographic correction parameters and lower rates of pseudarthrosis, major complications, and revision surgeries. ALIF is the preferred strategy for L5-S1 arthrodesis at a bottom of a long construct.