Awake transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a novel technique for performing spinal fusions in patients under conscious sedation. Whether awake TLIF can reduce operative times and decrease the hospital length of stay (LOS) remains to be shown. In this study, the authors sought to assess the differences in clinical outcomes between patients who underwent awake TLIF and those who underwent TLIF under general anesthesia by using institutional experience at the Mayo Clinic and the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database.
Chart review was performed for a consecutive series of patients who underwent single-level minimally invasive surgery (MIS)–TLIF performed by a single surgeon (K.A.I.) at a single institution. Additionally, the NSQIP database was queried from 2016 to 2019 for patients who underwent awake TLIF as well as propensity score–matched patients who underwent TLIF under general anesthesia.
A total of 20 patients at Mayo Clinic underwent awake single-level MIS-TLIF. The mean operative time was 122 ± 16.68 minutes, and the mean estimated blood loss was 39 ± 30.24 ml. No intraoperative complications were reported. A total of 96 patients who underwent TLIF (24 awake and 72 under general anesthesia) were analyzed from the NSQIP database. The mean LOS was less in the awake cohort (1.4 ± 1.381 days) than the general anesthesia cohort (3 ± 2.274 days) (p = 0.002).
Evidence from the authors’ institutional experience and national analysis has demonstrated that awake MIS-TLIF is efficient and can reduce hospital LOS.