Marcelle Altshuler, Kyle Mueller, Ashley MacConnell, Peter Wirth, Faheem Sandhu, Jean-Marc Voyadzis

January 2021, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 122 - 127 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06536-y

First Online: 22 July 2020

Does minimally invasive spine surgery reduce the rate of perioperative medical complications? A retrospective single-center experience of 1435 degenerative lumbar spine surgeries


It is unclear if minimally invasive techniques reduce the rate of perioperative complications when compared to traditional open approaches to the lumbar spine. Our aim was to evaluate perioperative complications in patients that underwent MIS and conventional open techniques for degenerative lumbar pathology.


A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database identified 1435 patients that underwent surgery for degenerative lumbar pathology from January 2013–2016. We evaluated the rates of deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, urinary tract infection, and pneumonia. Groups were analyzed based on decompression alone as compared with decompression and fusion for both MIS and traditional open techniques.


Patients that underwent traditional open lumbar decompression surgery were more likely to develop a DVT (P = .01) than those undergoing MIS decompression. There was no significant difference in rates of PE (P = .99), UTI (P = .24), or pneumonia (P = .56). Patients that underwent traditional open lumbar fusion surgery compared to MIS fusion were also more likely to have a PE (P = .03). There was no significant difference in rates of DVT (P = .22), UTI (P = .43), or pneumonia (P = .24).


Minimally invasive spinal surgery was found to reduce the rate of DVT for decompression surgeries and reduce the rate of PE for fusion surgeries.

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