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Josha Woodward, Hani Malone, Christopher D. Witiw, John Paul G. Kolcun, Lacin Koro, Kevin C. Keegan, Shahjehan Ahmad, Mena G. Kerolus, Brian T. David, R. David Fessler, and Richard G. Fessler

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to evaluate the clinical and radiographic outcomes of a novel multidirectional in situ expandable minimally invasive surgery (MIS) transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) cage.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of 69 consecutive patients undergoing a 1- or 2-level MIS TLIF using an expandable cage was performed over a 2-year period. Standard MIS techniques with pedicle screw fixation were used in all cases. Upright lateral dynamic flexion/extension radiographs were reviewed prior to and at 1 year after surgery. Clinical metrics included numeric rating scale for back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and the SF-12 and VR-12 physical and mental health surveys. Radiographic parameters included anterior and posterior disc height, neuroforaminal height, spondylolisthesis, segmental lordosis, lumbar lordosis, and fusion rate.

RESULTS

A total of 69 patients representing 75 operative levels met study inclusion criteria. The mean patient age at surgery was 63.4 ± 1.2 years, with a female predominance of 51%. The average radiographic and clinical follow-ups were 372 and 368 days, respectively. A total of 63 patients (91%) underwent 1-level surgery and 6 patients (9%) underwent 2-level surgery. Significant reductions of numeric rating scale scores for back and leg pain were observed—from 6.1 ± 0.7 to 2.5 ± 0.3 (p < 0.0001) and 4.9 ± 0.6 to 1.9 ± 0.2 (p < 0.0001), respectively. A similar reduction in Oswestry Disability Index from 38.0 ± 4.6 to 20.0 ± 2.3 (p < 0.0001) was noted. Likewise, SF-12 and VR-12 scores all showed statistically significant improvement from baseline (p < 0.001). The mean anterior and posterior disc heights improved from 8.7 ± 1.0 mm to 13.4 ± 1.5 mm (p = 0.0001) and 6.5 ± 0.8 mm to 9.6 ± 1.1 mm (p = 0.0001), respectively. Neuroforaminal height improved from 17.6 ± 2.0 mm to 21.9 ± 2.5 mm (p = 0.0001). When present, spondylolisthesis was, on average, reduced from 4.3 ± 0.5 mm to 1.9 ± 0.2 mm (p = 0.0001). Lumbar lordosis improved from 47.8° ± 5.5° to 58.5° ± 6.8° (p = 0.2687), and no significant change in segmental lordosis was observed. The overall rate of radiographic fusion was 93.3% at 1 year. No perioperative complications requiring operative revision were encountered.

CONCLUSIONS

In this series of MIS TLIFs, use of this novel interbody cage was shown to be safe and effective. Significant improvements in pain and disability were observed. Effective and durable restoration of disc height and neuroforaminal height and reduction of spondylolisthesis were obtained, with concurrent gains in lumbar lordosis. Taken together, this device offers excellent clinical and radiographic outcomes via an MIS approach.