This study focuses on To describe our technique, evaluate access related complications and factors contributing to adverse outcomes in patients undergoing retroperitoneal anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF).

We conducted a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data on patients undergoing ALIF at our institution from January 2008 to December 2017. Access was performed by a vascular surgeon who remained present for the duration of the case. Data collected included patients’ demographics, comorbidities, exposure related complications and ileus. Study end points included major adverse events and minor complications. Major adverse events included any vascular injuries requiring repair, bowel and ureter injuries, postoperative bleeding requiring reoperation, myocardial infarction, stroke, venous thromboembolism (pulmonary embolism/deep venous thrombosis), wound dehiscence, and death. Minor complications included postoperative paralytic ileus, urinary tract infections, and surgical site infections. The incidence of incisional hernia was also evaluated.

Our findings suggest that ALIF exposure can be performed safely with a relatively low overall complication rate. The majority of vascular injuries associated with this procedure are venous in nature, occurring predominantly while exposing the L4 to L5 level and can be safely addressed by an experienced vascular team.

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