Sang Ki Chung, Sang Ho Lee, Sang Rak Lim, Dong-Yun Kim, Jee Soo Jang, Ki-Se Nam, Ho Yeon Lee

October 2003, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 613 - 617 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-003-0526-y

First Online: 17 October 2003

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a widely accepted tool for management of painful degenerative disc disease. Recently, the modern laparoscopic surgical technique has been combined with ALIF procedure, with good early postoperative results being reported. However, the benefit of laparoscopic fusion is poorly defined compared with its open counterpart. This study aimed to compare perioperative parameters and minimum 2-year follow-up outcome for laparoscopic and open anterior surgical approach for L5–S1 fusion. The data of 54 consecutive patients who underwent anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) of L5–S1 from 1997 to 1999 were collected prospectively. More than 2-years’ follow-up data were available for 47 of these patients. In all cases, carbon cage and autologous bone graft were used for fusion. Twenty-five patients underwent a laparoscopic procedure and 22 an open mini-ALIF. Three laparoscopic procedures were converted to open ones. For perioperative parameters only, the operative time was statistically different (P=0.001), while length of postoperative hospital stay and blood loss were not. The incidence of operative complications was three in the laparoscopic group and two in the open mini-ALIF group. After a follow-up period of at least 2 years, the two groups showed no statistical difference in pain, measured by visual analog scale, in the Oswestry Disability Index or in the Patient Satisfaction Index. The fusion rate was 91% in both groups. The laparoscopic ALIF for L5–S1 showed similar clinical and radiological outcome when compared with open mini-ALIF, but significant advantages were not identified, despite its technical difficulty.

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