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S. Shelby Burks, Juan S. Uribe, John Paul G. Kolcun, Adisson Fortunel, Jakub Godzik, Konrad Bach, and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive techniques are increasingly used in adult deformity surgery as surgeon familiarity improves and long-term data are published. Concerns raised in such cases include pseudarthrosis at levels where interbody grafts are not utilized. Few previous studies have specifically examined the thoracolumbar component of long surgical constructs, which is commonly instrumented without interbody or intertransverse fusion.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients who underwent hybrid minimally invasive deformity corrections in two academic spine centers over a 9-year period. Inclusion criteria were at least 2 rostral levels instrumented percutaneously, ranging from T8 to L1 as the upper end of the construct. Fusion assessment was made using CT when possible or radiography. Common radiographic parameters and clinical variables were assessed pre- and postoperatively.

RESULTS

A total of 36 patients fit the inclusion criteria. Baseline characteristics included a 1:1.8 male/female ratio, average age of 65.7 years, and BMI of 30.2 kg/m2. Follow-up imaging was obtained at a mean of 35.7 months. The average number of levels fused was 7.5, with an average of 3.4 instrumented percutaneously between T8 and L1, representing a total of 120 rostral levels instrumented percutaneously. Fusion assessment was performed using CT in 69 levels and radiography in 51 levels. Among the 120 rostral levels instrumented percutaneously, robust fusion was noted in 25 (20.8%), with 53 (44.2%) exhibiting some evidence of fusion. Pseudarthrosis was noted in 2 rostral segments (1.7%). There were no instances of proximal hardware revision. Eight patients exhibited radiographic proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK; 22.2%), none of whom underwent surgical intervention.

CONCLUSIONS

In the present series of adult patients with scoliosis undergoing thoracolumbar deformity correction, rostral segments instrumented percutaneously have a very low rate of pseudarthrosis, with radiographic evidence of bone fusion occurring in more than 60% of patients. The rate of PJK was acceptable and similar to other published series.

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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.