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Cureus. 2015 Oct 15;7(10):e351. doi: 10.7759/cureus.351.

Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (OLLIF): Technical Notes and Early Results of a Single Surgeon Comparative Study.

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Tristate Brain and Spine Institute.
Trinity College, University of Cambridge.



 Lower back pain is one of the most prevalent and expensive health conditions in the Western world. The standard treatment, interbody fusion, is an invasive procedure that requires the stripping of muscles and soft tissue, leading to surgical morbidity. Current minimally invasive (MI) spinal fusions are technically demanding and suffer from technical limitations.


Oblique lumbar lateral interbody fusion (OLLIF) is a new technique for fusion of the lumbar spine that overcomes these complications. Outcome measures include patient demographics, reported outcomes, and surgical outcomes.


 Kambin's Triangle can easily be located as a silent window with an electrophysiological probe. Discectomy is performed through a single access portal with a 10 mm diameter. After a discectomy, the disc space is packed with beta-tricalcium phosphate soaked in autologous bone marrow, aspirated, and the cage is inserted. Finally, a minimally invasive posterior fixation is performed.


OLLIF's major innovation is to approach the disc through Kambin's Triangle, aided by bilateral fluoroscopy.


 We present data from 69 consecutive OLLIF surgeries on 128 levels with a control group of 55 consecutive open transformational lumbar interbody fusions (TLIFs) on 125 levels. For a single level OLLIF, the mean surgery time is 69 minutes (min) and blood loss is 29 ml. Surgery time was approximately twice as fast as open TLIF (mean: 135 min) and blood loss is reduced by over 80% compared to TLIF (mean: 355 ml).


 OLLIF is a minimally invasive fusion that significantly reduces surgery times compared to open surgery. OLLIF overcomes the difficulties of traditional open fusions, making it a safe and technically less demanding surgery than open or minimally invasive TLIF.


disc disease; interbody fusion; level 3 retrospective cohort study; lumbar spine; minimally invasive surgery; operative surgical procedures; spinal fusion; spine surgery

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