Anatomical positional changes in the lateral lumbar interbody fusion

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INTRODUCTION: ALIFs and LLIFs are now becoming more utilized for adult spinal disease. As technologies advance, so do surgical techniques, with surgeons now modifying traditional supine-ALIF and lateral-LLIF to lateral-ALIF and prone-LLIF approaches to allow for more efficient surgeries. The objective of this study is to characterize the anatomical changes in the surgical corridor that occur with changes in patient positioning. METHODS: MRIs of ten healthy volunteers were evaluated in five positions: supine, prone with hips flexed, prone with hips extended, lateral with hips flexed, and lateral with hips extended. All lateral scans were in the left lateral decubitus position. The anatomical changes of the psoas muscles, inferior vena cava, aorta, iliac vessels were assessed with relation to fixed landmarks on the disc spaces from L1 to S1. RESULTS: The most anteriorly elongated ipsilateral to approach psoas when compared to supine was seen in lateral-flexed position (- 5.82 mm, p < 0.001), followed by lateral-extended (- 2.23 mm, p < 0.001), then prone-flexed (- 1.40 mm, p = 0.014), and finally supine and prone-extended (- 0.21 mm, p = 0.643). The most laterally extending or "thickest" psoas was seen in prone-flexed (- 1.40 mm, p = 0.004) and prone-extended (- 1.17 mm, p = 0.002). The psoas was "thinnest" in lateral-extended (2.03 mm, p < 0.001) followed by lateral-flexed (1.11 mm, p = 0.239). The contralateral psoas did not move as anteriorly as the ipsilateral. 3D volumetric analysis showed that the greatest changes in the psoas occur at its proximal and distal poles near T12-L1 and L4-S1. In lateral-flexed compared to prone-extended, the IVC moves medially to the left (p < 0.001). The aorta moves laterally to the left (p = 0.005). The venous structures appeared more full and open in the lateral positions and flattened in the supine and prone positions. The arteries remain in full calibre. CONCLUSION: The MRI anatomical evaluation shows that the psoas, and therefore lumbar plexus, and vasculature move significantly with changes in positioning. This is important for preoperative planning for proper intraoperative execution from preoperative supine MRI. Understanding that the psoas and vessels move the most anteriorly in the lateral-flexed position and to a least degree in the prone-extended is essential for safe and efficient utilization of techniques such as the traditional LLIF, traditional ALIF, prone-LLIF.

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European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society







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