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  • Author or Editor: Ifije E. Ohiorhenuan x
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Jakub Godzik, Ifije E. Ohiorhenuan, David S. Xu, Bernardo de Andrada Pereira, Corey T. Walker, Alexander C. Whiting, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a useful minimally invasive technique for achieving anterior interbody fusion and preserving or restoring lumbar lordosis. However, achieving circumferential fusion via posterior instrumentation after an LLIF can be challenging, requiring either repositioning the patient or placing pedicle screws in the lateral position. Here, the authors explore an alternative single-position approach: LLIF in the prone lateral (PL) position.

METHODS

A cadaveric feasibility study was performed using 2 human cadaveric specimens. A retrospective 2-center early clinical series was performed for patients who had undergone a minimally invasive lateral procedure in the prone position between August 2019 and March 2020. Case duration, retractor time, electrophysiological thresholds, implant size, screw accuracy, and complications were recorded. Early postoperative radiographic outcomes were reported.

RESULTS

A PL LLIF was successfully performed in 2 cadavers without causing injury to a vessel or the bowel. No intraoperative subsidence was observed. In the clinical series, 12 patients underwent attempted PL surgery, although 1 case was converted to standard lateral positioning. Thus, 11 patients successfully underwent PL LLIF (89%) across 14 levels: L2–3 (2 of 14 [14%]), L3–4 (6 of 14 [43%]), and L4–5 (6 of 14 [43%]). For the 11 PL patients, the mean (± SD) age was 61 ± 16 years, mean BMI was 25.8 ± 4.8, and mean retractor time per level was 15 ± 6 minutes with the longest retractor time at L2–3 and the shortest at L4–5. No intraoperative subsidence was noted on routine postoperative imaging.

CONCLUSIONS

Performing single-position lateral transpsoas interbody fusion with the patient prone is anatomically feasible, and in an early clinical experience, it appeared safe and reproducible. Prone positioning for a lateral approach presents an exciting opportunity for streamlining surgical access to the lumbar spine and facilitating more efficient surgical solutions with potential clinical and economic advantages.