Clinical Study|Articles in Press

What is the fate of the adjacent segmental angles 6 months after single-level L3–4 or L4–5 lateral lumbar interbody fusion?


      Background Context

      Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is an effective technique for fusion and sagittal alignment correction/maintenance. Studies have investigated the impact on the segmental angle and lumbar lordosis (and pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis mismatch), however not much is documented regarding the immediate compensation of the adjacent angles.


      To evaluate acute adjacent and segmental angle as well as lumbar lordosis changes in patients undergoing a L3–4 or L4–5 LLIF for degenerative pathology.

      Study Design/Setting

      Retrospective cohort study.

      Patient Sample

      Patients included in this study were analyzed pre- and post-LLIF performed by one of three fellowship-trained spine surgeons, 6 months following surgery.

      Outcome Measures

      Patient demographics (including body mass index, diabetes diagnosis, age, and sex) as well as VAS and ODI scores were measured. Lateral lumbar radiograph parameters: lumbar lordosis (LL), segmental lordosis (SL), infra and supra-adjacent segmental angle, and pelvic incidence (PI).


      Multiple regressions were applied for the main hypothesis tests. We examined any interactive effects at each operative level and used the 95% confidence intervals to determine significance: a confidence interval excluding zero indicates a significant effect.


      We identified 84 patients who underwent a single level LLIF (61 at L4–5, 23 at L3–4). For both the overall sample and at each operative level, the operative segmental angle was significantly more lordotic postop compared to preop (all ps≤.01). Adjacent segmental angles were significantly less lordotic postop compared to pre-op overall (p=.001). For the overall sample, greater lordotic change at the operative segment led to more compensatory reduction of lordosis at the supra-adjacent segment. At L4–5, more lordotic change at the operative segment led to more compensatory lordosis reduction at the infra-adjacent segment.


      The present study demonstrated that LLIF resulted in significant increase in operative level lordosis and a compensatory decrease in supra- and infra-adjacent level lordosis, and subsequently no significant impact on spinopelvic mismatch.


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