J Neurosurg Spine 39:380–386, 2023
Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a workhorse surgical approach for lumbar arthrodesis. There is growing interest in techniques for performing single-position surgery in which LLIF and pedicle screw fixation are performed with the patient in the prone position. Most studies of prone LLIF are of poor quality and without long-term followup; therefore, the complication profile related to this novel approach is not well known. The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review and pooled analysis to understand the safety profile of prone LLIF.
METHODS A systematic review of the literature and a pooled analysis were conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. All studies reporting prone LLIF were assessed for inclusion. Studies not reporting complication rates were excluded.
RESULTS Ten studies meeting the inclusion criteria were analyzed. Overall, 286 patients were treated with prone LLIF across these studies, and a mean (SD) of 1.3 (0.2) levels per patient were treated. The 18 intraoperative complications reported included cage subsidence (3.8% [3/78]), anterior longitudinal ligament rupture (2.3% [5/215]), cage repositioning (2.1% [2/95]), segmental artery injury (2.0% [5/244]), aborted prone interbody placement (0.8% [2/244]), and durotomy (0.6% [1/156]). No major vascular or peritoneal injuries were reported. Sixty-eight postoperative complications occurred, including hip flexor weakness (17.8% [21/118]), thigh and groin sensory symptoms (13.3% [31/233]), revision surgery (3.8% [3/78]), wound infection (1.9% [3/156]), psoas hematoma (1.3% [2/156]), and motor neural injury (1.2% [2/166]).
CONCLUSIONS Single-position LLIF in the prone position appears to be a safe surgical approach with a low complication profile. Longer-term follow-up and prospective studies are needed to better characterize the long-term complication rates related to this approach.