Extreme lateral interbody fusion in spinal revision surgery: clinical results and complications

Matteo Formica, Andrea Zanirato, Luca Cavagnaro, Marco Basso, Stefano Divano, Lamberto Felli, Carlo Formica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the study: To evaluate clinical outcomes and complications of extreme lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF) in spinal revision surgery comparing our data with the available literature evidence about other fusion techniques. Materials and methods: Retrospective analysis of patients underwent revision surgery with XLIF as interbody fusion technique. Demographic, comorbidity, surgical data, clinical results, and intraoperative and postoperative complications were recorded. Results: 36 patients, with a minimum follow-up of 28 ± 11.5 months, were included in the analysis. 41 levels were fused with XLIF. The mean number of previous spine surgery was 1.5 ± 0.7. Mean improvement in back pain and leg pain on VAS was 5.6 ± 1.4 (p < 0.01) and 3.5 ± 2 (p < 0.01), respectively. Mean improvement in the ODI score was 30.3 ± 7.3 (p < 0.01). 1 vertebral endplate fracture during interbody space preparation was reported during lateral approach. 5 patients (13.8%) complained quadriceps weakness and anterior thigh hypoesthesia fully recovered after 3 months from surgery, and in one case, a transient contralateral radiculopathy was observed. No implant failure was detected at final follow-up. Conclusions: XLIF is a reasonably safe and effective fusion technique in revision surgery that allows valid arthrodesis avoiding scarred tissue created by previous surgical approaches. Especially, XLIF reduces the risk of nerve root lesions, postoperative radiculitis, and durotomies compared to posterior fusion techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-470
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Complications
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion
  • Failed back surgery
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion
  • Spinal revision surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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