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Neurosurgery. 2015 Dec;77(6):847-74; discussion 874. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000913.

Surgical Outcomes for Minimally Invasive vs Open Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

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*Department of Neurosurgery, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, Tennessee; ‡Semmes-Murphey Neurologic & Spine Institute, Memphis, Tennessee; §Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; ‖College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, Tennessee.



Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)-or MI-TLIF-has been increasing in prevalence compared with open TLIF (O-TLIF) procedures. The use of MI-TLIF is an evolving technique with conflicting reports in the literature about outcomes.


To investigate the impact of MI-TLIF in comparison with O-TLIF for early and late outcomes by using the Visual Analog Scale for back pain (VAS-back) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Secondary end points include blood loss, operative time, radiation exposure, length of stay, fusion rates, and complications between the 2 procedures.


During August 2014, a systematic literature search was performed identifying 987 articles. Of these, 30 met inclusion criteria. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed by using both pooled and subset analyses based on study type.


Our meta-analysis demonstrated that MI-TLIF reduced blood loss (P < .001), length of stay (P < .001), and complications (P = .001) but increased radiation exposure (P < .001). No differences were found in fusion rate (P = .61) and operative time (P = .34). A decrease in late VAS-back scores was demonstrated for MI TLIF (P < .001), but no differences were found in early VAS-back, early ODI, and late ODI.


MI-TLIF is associated with reduced blood loss, decreased length of stay, decreased complication rates, and increased radiation exposure. The rates of fusion and operative time are similar between MI-TLIF and O-TLIF. Differences in long-term outcomes in MI-TLIF vs O-TLIF are inconclusive and require more research, particularly in the form of large, multi-institutional prospective randomized controlled trials.


CI, confidence intervalMCID, minimal clinically important differenceMI-TLIF, minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusionODI, Oswestry Disability IndexO-TLIF, open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusionVAS, Visual Analog Scale.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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