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Cureus. 2017 Jan 14;9(1):e979. doi: 10.7759/cureus.979.

Minimally Invasive Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (MIS-DLIF): Proof of Concept and Perioperative Results.

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



Minimally invasive direct lateral interbody fusion (MIS-DLIF) is a novel approach for fusions of the lumbar spine. In this proof of concept study, we describe the surgical technique and report our experience and the perioperative outcomes of the first nine patients who underwent this procedure.


In this study we establish the safety and efficacy of this approach. MIS-DLIF was performed on 15 spinal levels in nine patients who failed to respond to conservative therapy for the treatment of a re-herniated disk, spondylolisthesis, or other severe disk disease of the lumbar spine. We recorded surgery time, blood loss, fluoroscopy time, patient-reported pain, and complications.


Throughout the MIS-DLIF procedure, the surgeon is aided by biplanar fluoroscopic imaging to place an interbody graft or cage into the disc space through the interpleural space. A discectomy is performed in the same minimally invasive fashion. The procedure is usually completed with posterior pedicle screw fixation.


MIS-DLIF took 44/85 minutes, on average, for 1/2 levels, with 54/112 ml of blood loss, and 0.3/1.7 days of hospital stay. Four of nine patients did not require overnight hospitalization and were discharged two to four hours after surgery. We did not encounter any clinically significant complications. At more than ninety days post surgery, the patients reported a statistically significant reduction of 4.5 points on a 10-point sliding pain scale.


MIS-DLIF with pedicle screw fixation is a safe and clinically effective procedure for fusions of the lumbar spine. The procedure overcomes many of the limitations of the current minimally invasive approaches to the lumbar spine and is technically straightforward. MIS-DLIF has the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs relative to the current standard of care and therefore warrants further investigation. We are currently expanding this study to a larger cohort and documenting long-term outcome data.


interbody fusion; lumbar spine; minimally invasive surgery; operative surgical procedures; spine fusion

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared financial relationships, which are detailed in the next section.

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