Subsidence Rates After Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Systematic Review

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World Neurosurg


OBJECTIVE: The evidence regarding the consequences of subsidence with lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) has been sparse. The objective of this study is to calculate the incidence of subsidence and reoperation for subsidence after LLIF. A secondary outcome examined the quantitative degree of subsidence by calculating the percent change in the height of the intervertebral space secondary to interbody subsidence at various postoperative follow-up times.

METHODS: Following the MOOSE (Meta-analysis [and Systematic Review] Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) guidelines, a systematic review searched for all cohort studies that focused on subsidence rates after LLIF, including extreme lateral interbody fusions (XLIFs) and direct lateral interbody fusion. Neoplastic, infectious, and/or metabolic indications for LLIF were similarly excluded because these diseases may compromise bone quality and, thus, confound the rate of cage subsidence. Corpectomies were removed from the systematic review because 1) indications for removal of vertebral body typically reflect those excluded diseases and 2) subsidence refers to a different biomechanical process.

RESULTS: This systematic review identified a subsidence incidence with LLIF of 10.3% (N = 141/1362 patients in 14 articles) and reoperation rate for subsidence of 2.7% (N = 41/1470 patients in 16 articles). In the secondary outcome measure, the disc height decreased from 5.6% after 3 months, 6.0% after 6 months, and 10.2% after 12 months, to 8.9% after 24 months (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Subsidence after LLIF carries a nonnegligible risk that may be incorporated in surgical consent discussions in selected patients.

Medical Subject Headings

Cohort Studies; Humans; Lumbar Vertebrae; Reoperation; Spinal Diseases; Spinal Fusion

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