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One-level open vs. minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a systematic review and advanced meta-analytic assessment of prospective studies with at least two years follow-up

Abstract

Purpose

To determine whether the open or the minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (O-TLIF, MI-TLIF) is the favored treatment, we provide first meta-analyses using prospective studies with at least two years follow-up only and present the clinical relevance of statistical results for the first time.

Methods

After a systematic review of six databases, we conducted 10 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 10 meta-analyses of eligible prospective studies (EPSs) to compare fusion rate, patient-reported outcome measures (back pain (B-VAS), leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI)), for the first time safety outcome measures as operative and postoperative complications per case, and the perioperative outcome measures estimated blood loss (EBL), operation time and length of hospital stay (LOS). The clinical relevance was assessed by overall effect sizes (OESs) of statistically significant meta-analytic results.

Results

In our meta-analyses of RCTs, MI-TLIF is statistically significantly superior in ODI, EBL and LOS, with clinically meaningful OESs only in EBL and LOS. In meta-analyses of EPSs, MI-TLIF is statistically significantly superior in B-VAS, postoperative complications per case, EBL and LOS, all with clinically meaningful OESs except for B-VAS. The meta-analyses of remaining outcome measures present statistically nonsignificant results. In a descriptive analysis of complications, postoperative wound infections predominate in O-TLIF and hardware malposition in MI-TLIF.

Conclusion

After at least two years, O-TLIF and MI-TLIF can be considered equally efficacious, which simplifies surgeons’ decision between both treatments, however, with the safety outcome measure postoperative complications per case and the perioperative outcome measures EBL and LOS in favor of MI-TLIF.

Level of evidence I

Well conducted meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or RCTs with a low risk of bias.

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Fig. 1
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Data availability

The meta-analytic datasets are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Robert Röhle, M.Sc. of the Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology, Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany for his statistical advice.

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MK was involved in methodology, conceptualization, formal analysis and investigation, writing-original draft preparation, and data extraction; MK and LB contributed to literature search; LB was involved in check of data extraction; LB and KBJ contributed to writing-review and editing; KBJ was involved in supervision of all parts.

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Correspondence to Max Kunadt.

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Kunadt, M., Barleben, L. & Büttner-Janz, K. One-level open vs. minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: a systematic review and advanced meta-analytic assessment of prospective studies with at least two years follow-up. Eur Spine J (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-022-07223-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00586-022-07223-w

Keywords

  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
  • Minimally invasive
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Meta-analysis