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Minimally invasive versus open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for treatment of degenerative lumbar disease: systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract

Purpose

While open TLIF (O-TLIF) remains the mainstay approach, minimally invasive TLIF (MI-TLIF) may offer potential advantages of reduced trauma to paraspinal muscles, minimized perioperative blood loss, quicker recovery and reduced risk of infection at surgical sites. This meta-analysis was conducted to provide an updated assessment of the relative benefits and risks of MI-TLIF versus O-TLIF.

Methods

Electronic searches were performed using six databases from their inception to December 2014. Relevant studies comparing MI-TLIF and O-TLIF were included. Data were extracted and analysed according to predefined clinical end points.

Results

There was no significant difference in operation time noted between MI-TLIF and O-TLIF cohorts. The median intraoperative blood loss for MI-TLIF was significantly lower than O-TLIF (median: 177 vs 461 mL; (weighted mean difference) WMD, −256.23; 95 % CI −351.35, −161.1; P < 0.00001). Infection rates were significantly lower in the minimally invasive cohort (1.2 vs 4.6 %; relative risk (RR), 0.27; 95 %, 0.14, 0.53; I 2 = 0 %; P = 0.0001). VAS back pain scores were significantly lower in the MI-TLIF group compared to O-TLIF (WMD, −0.41; 95 % CI −0.76, −0.06; I 2 = 96 %; P < 0.00001). Postoperative ODI scores were also significantly lower in the minimally invasive cohort (WMD, −2.21; 95 % CI −4.26, −0.15; I 2 = 93 %; P = 0.04).

Conclusions

In summary, the present systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that MI-TLIF appears to be a safe and efficacious approach compared to O-TLIF. MI-TLIF is associated with lower blood loss and infection rates in patients, albeit at the risk of higher radiation exposure for the surgical team. The long-term relative merits require further validation in prospective, randomized studies.

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The authors have no conflict of interest whatsoever in the conduct of the study or its results.

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Correspondence to Kevin Phan.

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Phan, K., Rao, P.J., Kam, A.C. et al. Minimally invasive versus open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for treatment of degenerative lumbar disease: systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Spine J 24, 1017–1030 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-015-3903-4

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