Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) has been used to treat degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis and is associated with expedited recovery, reduced operative blood loss, and shorter hospitalizations compared to those with traditional open TLIF. However, the impact of MI-TLIF on long-term patient-reported outcomes (PROs) is less clear. Here, the authors compare the outcomes of MI-TLIF to those of traditional open TLIF for grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis at 60 months postoperatively.
The authors utilized the prospective Quality Outcomes Database registry and queried for patients with grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis who had undergone single-segment surgery via an MI or open TLIF method. PROs were compared 60 months postoperatively. The primary outcome was the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). The secondary outcomes included the numeric rating scale (NRS) for back pain (NRS-BP), NRS for leg pain (NRS-LP), EQ-5D, North American Spine Society (NASS) satisfaction, and cumulative reoperation rate. Multivariable models were constructed to assess the impact of MI-TLIF on PROs, adjusting for variables reaching p < 0.20 on univariable analyses and respective baseline PRO values.
The study included 297 patients, 72 (24.2%) of whom had undergone MI-TLIF and 225 (75.8%) of whom had undergone open TLIF. The 60-month follow-up rates were similar for the two cohorts (86.1% vs 75.6%, respectively; p = 0.06). Patients did not differ significantly at baseline for ODI, NRS-BP, NRS-LP, or EQ-5D (p > 0.05 for all). Perioperatively, MI-TLIF was associated with less blood loss (108.8 ± 85.6 vs 299.6 ± 242.2 ml, p < 0.001) and longer operations (228.2 ± 111.5 vs 189.6 ± 66.5 minutes, p < 0.001) but had similar lengths of hospitalizations (MI-TLIF 2.9 ± 1.8 vs open TLIF 3.3 ± 1.6 days, p = 0.08). Discharge disposition to home or home health was similar (MI-TLIF 93.1% vs open TLIF 91.1%, p = 0.60). Both cohorts improved significantly from baseline for the 60-month ODI, NRS-BP, NRS-LP, and EQ-5D (p 0.05 for all). The 60-month reoperation rates did not differ significantly (MI-TLIF 5.6% vs open TLIF 11.6%, p = 0.14).
For symptomatic, single-level grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis, MI-TLIF was associated with decreased blood loss perioperatively, but there was no difference in 60-month outcomes for disability, back pain, leg pain, quality of life, or satisfaction between MI and open TLIF. There was no difference in cumulative reoperation rates between the two procedures. These results suggest that in appropriately selected patients, either procedure may be employed depending on patient and surgeon preferences.