Biportal endoscopic extraforaminal lumbar interbody fusion using a 3D‑printed porous titanium cage with large footprints: technical note and preliminary results

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1435–1443

The aim of this study was to introduce biportal endoscopic extraforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (BE-EFLIF), which involves insertion of a cage through a more lateral side as compared to the conventional corridor of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. We described the advantages and surgical steps of 3D-printed porous titanium cage with large footprints insertion through multi-portal approach, and preliminary results of this technique.

Methods This retrospective study included 12 consecutive patients who underwent BE-EFLIF for symptomatic singlelevel lumbar degenerative disease. Clinical outcomes, including a visual analog scale (VAS) for back and leg pain and the Oswestry disability index (ODI), were collected at preoperative months 1 and 3, and 6 months postoperatively. In addition, perioperative data and radiographic parameters were analyzed.

Results The mean patient age, follow-up period, operation time, and volume of surgical drainage were 68.3 ± 8.4 years, 7.6 ± 2.8 months, 188.3 ± 42.4 min, 92.5 ± 49.6 mL, respectively. There were no transfusion cases. All patients showed significant improvement in VAS and ODI postoperatively, and these were maintained for 6 months after surgery (P < 0.001). The anterior and posterior disc heights significantly increased after surgery (P < 0.001), and the cage was ideally positioned in all patients. There were no incidences of early cage subsidence or other complications.

Conclusions BE-EFLIF using a 3D-printed porous titanium cage with large footprints is a feasible option for minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion. This technique is expected to reduce the risk of cage subsidence and improve the fusion rate.