Single-position prone lateral transpsoas approach: early experience and outcomes

J Neurosurg Spine 36:358–365, 2022

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) via a transpsoas approach is a workhorse minimally invasive approach for lumbar arthrodesis that is often combined with posterior pedicle screw fixation. There has been increasing interest in performing single-position surgery, allowing access to the anterolateral and posterior spine without requiring patient repositioning. The feasibility of the transpsoas approach in patients in the prone position has been reported. Herein, the authors present a consecutive case series of all patients who underwent single-position prone transpsoas LLIF performed by an individual surgeon since adopting this approach.

METHODS A retrospective review was performed of a consecutive case series of adult patients (≥ 18 years old) who underwent single-position prone LLIF for any indication between October 2019 and November 2020. Pertinent operative details (levels, cage use, surgery duration, estimated blood loss, complications) and 3-month clinical outcomes were recorded. Intraoperative and 3-month postoperative radiographs were reviewed to assess for interbody subsidence.

RESULTS Twenty-eight of 29 patients (97%) underwent successful treatment with the prone lateral approach over the study interval; the approach was aborted in 1 patient, whose data were excluded. The mean (SD) age of patients was 67.9 (9.3) years; 75% (21) were women. Thirty-nine levels were treated: 18 patients (64%) had single-level fusion, 9 (32%) had 2-level fusion, and 1 (4%) had 3-level fusion. The most commonly treated levels were L3–4 (n = 15), L2–3 (n = 12), and L4–5 (n = 11). L1–2 was fused in 1 patient. The mean operative time was 286.5 (100.6) minutes, and the mean retractor time was 29.2 (13.5) minutes per level. The mean fluoroscopy duration was 215.5 (99.6) seconds, and the mean intraoperative radiation dose was 170.1 (94.8) mGy. Intraoperative subsidence was noted in 1 patient (4% of patients, 3% of levels). Intraoperative lateral access complications occurred in 11% of patients (1 cage repositioning, 2 inadvertent ruptures of anterior longitudinal ligament). Subsidence occurred in 5 of 22 patients (23%) with radiographic follow-up, affecting 6 of 33 levels (18%). Postoperative functional testing (Oswestry Disability Index, SF-36, visual analog scale–back and leg pain) identified significant improvement.

CONCLUSIONS This single-surgeon consecutive case series demonstrates that this novel technique is well tolerated and has acceptable clinical and radiographic outcomes. Larger patient series with longer follow-up are needed to further elucidate the safety profile and long-term outcomes of single-position prone LLIF.