Oblique L5-S1 lumbar fusion can be secure, and practicable
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The oblique prepsoas retroperitoneal approach to the lumbar spine for interbody fusion or oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF) provides safe access to nearly all lumbar levels. A wide interval between the psoas and aorta allows for a safe and straightforward left-sided oblique approach to the discs above L5. Inclusion of L5–S1 in this approach, requires modifications in the technique to navigate the complex and variable vascular anatomy distal to the bifurcation of the great vessels.

The objective of the Study was to evaluate the early experience with the safety of including L5–S1 in OLIF using 3 different approach techniques, as well as to compare early complications between OLIF with and without L5–S1 inclusion.

Of the 87 patients who underwent lumbar interbody fusion at 167 spinal levels via an OLIF approach, 19 included L5–S1 (group A) and 68 did not (group B).

Demographics, levels fused, indications, operative time (ORT), estimated blood loss (EBL), vascular ligation, intraoperative blood transfusion, length of stay (LOS), discharge to rehabilitation facility, and complications (intraoperative, early less than 90 days, and delayed more than 90 days) were retrospectively assessed and compared between the groups.

A retrospective chart and imaging review of all consecutive patients who underwent OLIF at a single institution was performed. Indications for OLIF included symptomatic lumbar degenerative stenosis, deformity, and spondylolisthesis. The L5–S1 level, when included, was approached via one of the following 3 techniques:
(1) a left-sided intrabifurcation approach;
(2) left-sided prepsoas approach; and
(3) right-sided prepsoas approach.
Vascular anatomic variations at the lumbosacral junction were evaluated using the preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and a “facet line” was proposed to assess this relationship. A minimum of 6 months of follow-up data were assessed for approach-related morbidities.

Demographics and operative indications were similar between the groups.
-The mean follow-up was 10.8 (6–36) months.
ORT was significantly longer in group A than in group B (322 vs. 256.3 min); however, no difference in ORT between the two groups was found in the subanalysis for 2- and 3-level surgeries.
-Differences in EBL (260 vs. 207.91 cc) and LOS (2.76 vs. 2.48 days) did not reach statistical significance.
-Ligation of the iliolumbar vein, segmental veins, median sacral vessels, or any vascular structure, as needed for adequate exposure, was required in 13 (68.4%) patients from group A and 4 (5.9%) from group B.
-Two patients suffered minor vascular injuries (1 in each group).

Conclusively, Inclusion of L5–S1 in OLIF is safe and feasible through three different approaches but likely involves greater operative complexity. This is the first series that reports the use of 3 different oblique approaches to L5–S1. The proposed “facet line” in the preoperative MRI may guide the choice of approach.

Source: https://www.thespinejournalonline.com/article/S1529-9430(20)31179-7/fulltext