Zhuo Xi, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Huibing Ruan, Charles Eichler, Chih-Chang Chang, and Shane Burch
In adult spinal deformity and degenerative conditions of the spine, interbody fusion to the sacrum often is performed to enhance arthrodesis, induce lordosis, and alleviate stenosis. Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) has traditionally been performed, but minimally invasive oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF) may or may not cause less morbidity because less retraction of the abdominal viscera is required. The authors evaluated whether there was a difference between the results of ALIF and OLIF in multilevel anterior or lateral interbody fusion to the sacrum.
Patients from 2013 to 2018 who underwent multilevel ALIF or OLIF to the sacrum were retrospectively studied. Inclusion criteria were adult spinal deformity or degenerative pathology and multilevel ALIF or OLIF to the sacrum. Demographic, implant, perioperative, and radiographic variables were collected. Statistical calculations were performed for significant differences.
Data from a total of 127 patients were analyzed (66 OLIF patients and 61 ALIF patients). The mean follow-up times were 27.21 (ALIF) and 24.11 (OLIF) months. The mean surgical time was 251.48 minutes for ALIF patients and 234.48 minutes for OLIF patients (p = 0.154). The mean hospital stay was 7.79 days for ALIF patients and 7.02 days for OLIF patients (p = 0.159). The mean time to being able to eat solid food was 4.03 days for ALIF patients and 1.30 days for OLIF patients (p < 0.001). After excluding patients who had undergone L5–S1 posterior column osteotomy, 54 ALIF patients and 41 OLIF patients were analyzed for L5–S1 radiographic changes. The mean cage height was 14.94 mm for ALIF patients and 13.56 mm for OLIF patients (p = 0.001), and the mean cage lordosis was 15.87° in the ALIF group and 16.81° in the OLIF group (p = 0.278). The mean increases in anterior disc height were 7.34 mm and 4.72 mm for the ALIF and OLIF groups, respectively (p = 0.001), and the mean increases in posterior disc height were 3.35 mm and 1.24 mm (p < 0.001), respectively. The mean change in L5–S1 lordosis was 4.33° for ALIF patients and 4.59° for OLIF patients (p = 0.829).
Patients who underwent multilevel OLIF and ALIF to the sacrum had comparable operative times. OLIF was associated with a quicker ileus recovery and less blood loss. At L5–S1, ALIF allowed larger cages to be placed, resulting in a greater disc height change, but there was no significant difference in L5–S1 segmental lordosis.
Zhuo Xi, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Minghao Wang, Huibing Ruan, Shane Burch, Vedat Deviren, Aaron J. Clark, Sigurd H. Berven, and Dean Chou
One vexing problem after lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) surgery is cage subsidence. Low bone mineral density (BMD) may contribute to subsidence, and BMD is correlated with Hounsfield units (HUs) on CT. The authors investigated if lower HU values correlated with subsidence after LLIF.
A retrospective study of patients undergoing single-level LLIF with pedicle screw fixation for degenerative conditions at the University of California, San Francisco, by 6 spine surgeons was performed. Data on demographics, cage parameters, preoperative HUs on CT, and postoperative subsidence were collected. Thirty-six–inch standing radiographs were used to measure segmental lordosis, disc space height, and subsidence; data were collected immediately postoperatively and at 1 year. Subsidence was graded using a published grade of disc height loss: grade 0, 0%–24%; grade I, 25%–49%; grade II, 50%–74%; and grade III, 75%–100%. HU values were measured on preoperative CT from L1 to L5, and each lumbar vertebral body HU was measured 4 separate times.
After identifying 138 patients who underwent LLIF, 68 met the study inclusion criteria. All patients had single-level LLIF with pedicle screw fixation. The mean follow-up duration was 25.3 ± 10.4 months. There were 40 patients who had grade 0 subsidence, 15 grade I, 9 grade II, and 4 grade III. There were no significant differences in age, sex, BMI, or smoking. There were no significant differences in cage sizes, cage lordosis, and preoperative disc height. The mean segmental HU (the average HU value of the two vertebrae above and below the LLIF) was 169.5 ± 45 for grade 0, 130.3 ± 56.2 for grade I, 100.7 ± 30.2 for grade II, and 119.9 ± 52.9 for grade III (p < 0.001). After using a receiver operating characteristic curve to establish separation criteria between mild and severe subsidence, the most appropriate threshold of HU value was 135.02 between mild and severe subsidence (sensitivity 60%, specificity 92.3%). After univariate and multivariate analysis, preoperative segmental HU value was an independent risk factor for severe cage subsidence (p = 0.017, OR 15.694, 95% CI 1.621–151.961).
Lower HU values on preoperative CT are associated with cage subsidence after LLIF. Measurement of preoperative HU values on CT may be useful when planning LLIF surgery.