Article Abstract

Complications on minimally invasive oblique lumbar interbody fusion at L2–L5 levels: a review of the literature and surgical strategies

Authors: Javier Quillo-Olvera, Guang-Xun Lin, Hyun-Jin Jo, Jin-Sung Kim


Fusion is the cornerstone in the treatment of an unstable degenerative lumbar spinal disease. Various techniques have been developed. Amongst these techniques exists the oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF), which is the ante-psoas approach. Adequate restoration of disc height with large cages placed in the intervertebral space, indirect decompression, and correction of sagittal and coronal alignment can be achieved with OLIF procedure with the advantage of minimal risk for the psoas muscle and lumbar plexus. Nevertheless, this technique entails complications directly associated with the anatomical location where the fusion takes place. This surgical area is a window between the left lateral border of the aorta, or the left common iliac artery, and the anterior belly of the left psoas muscle. Vascular complications associated with the injury of the main vessels, segmental artery or iliolumbar vein of the lumbar spine have been reported, as well as urologic lesions due to ureter transgression, amongst others. Although these complications have been described in the literature, an article that complements this information with technical advice for its avoidance is yet to be published. This article is a review of the most frequent complications associated with the OLIF procedure in L2–L5 lumbar levels, as well as a description of technical strategies for the prevention of such complications.