Anterior-to-psoas lumbar interbody fusion (ATP-LIF), more commonly referred to as oblique lateral interbody fusion, and lateral transpsoas lumbar interbody fusion (LTP-LIF), also known as extreme lateral interbody fusion, are the two commonly used lateral approaches for performing a lumbar fusion procedure. These approaches help overcome some of the technical challenges associated with traditional approaches for lumbar fusion. In this systematic review and indirect meta-analysis, the authors compared operative and patient-reported outcomes between these two select approaches using available studies.
Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach, the authors conducted an electronic search using the PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus databases for studies published before May 1, 2019. Indirect meta-analysis was conducted on fusion rate, cage movement (subsidence plus migration), permanent deficits, and transient deficits; results were depicted as forest plots of proportions (effect size [ES]).
A total of 63 studies were included in this review after applying the exclusion criteria, of which 26 studies investigated the outcomes of ATP-LIF, while 37 studied the outcomes of LTP-LIF. The average fusion rate was found to be similar between the two groups (ES 0.97, 95% CI 0.84–1.00 vs ES 0.94, 95% CI 0.91–0.97; p = 0.561). The mean incidence of cage movement was significantly higher in the ATP-LIF group compared with the LTP-LIF group (stand-alone: ES 0.15, 95% CI 0.06–0.27 vs ES 0.09, 95% CI 0.04–0.16 [p = 0.317]; combined: ES 0.18, 95% CI 0.07–0.32 vs ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.00–0.05 [p = 0.002]). The mean incidence of reoperations was significantly higher in patients undergoing ATP-LIF than in those undergoing LTP-LIF (ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.01–0.03 vs ES 0.04, 95% CI 0.02–0.07; p = 0.012). The mean incidence of permanent deficits was similar between the two groups (stand-alone: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.05, 95% CI 0.01–0.12 [p = 0.204]; combined: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.00–0.08 [p = 0.595]). The postoperative changes in visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores were both found to be higher for ATP-LIF relative to LTP-LIF (VAS: weighted average 4.11 [SD 2.03] vs weighted average 3.75 [SD 1.94] [p = 0.004]; ODI: weighted average 28.3 [SD 5.33] vs weighted average 24.3 [SD 4.94] [p < 0.001]).
These analyses indicate that while both approaches are associated with similar fusion rates, ATP-LIF may be related to higher odds of cage movement and reoperations as compared with LTP-LIF. Furthermore, there is no difference in rates of permanent deficits between the two procedures.