The goal of this study was to assess the outcomes of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) in patients ≥ 70 years old and compare them to younger age groups.
This was a retrospective study of data that were collected prospectively. Patients who underwent primary single-level MI-TLIF were included and divided into 3 groups: age < 60, 60-69, and ≥ 70 years. The outcome measures were as follows: 1) patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) (i.e., visual analog scale [VAS] for back and leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey Physical Component Summary [SF-12 PCS]); 2) minimum clinically important difference (MCID) achievement; 3) return to activities; 4) opioid discontinuation; 5) fusion rates; and 6) complications/reoperations.
A total of 147 patients (age < 60 years, 62; 60-69 years, 47; ≥ 70 years, 38) were included. All the groups showed significant improvements in all PROMs at the early (< 6 months) and late (≥ 6 months) time points and there was no significant difference between the groups. Although MCID achievement rates for VAS leg and ODI were similar, they were lower in the ≥ 70-year-old patient group for VAS back and SF-12 PCS. Although the time to MCID achievement for ODI and SF-12 PCS was similar, it was greater in the ≥ 70-year-old patient group for VAS back and leg. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of return to activities, opioid discontinuation, fusion rates, and complication/reoperation rates.
Although patients > 70 years of age may be less likely and/or take longer to achieve MCID compared to their younger counterparts, they show an overall significant improvement in PROMs, a similar likelihood of returning to activities and discontinuing opioids, and comparable fusion and complication/reoperation rates following MI-TLIF.