Nationwide Survey of the Surgical Complications Associated with Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion in 2015-2020

New Technology Assessment Committee of The Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research

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Introduction: Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) has been introduced in Japan in 2013. Despite the effectiveness of this procedure, several considerable complications have been reported. This study reported the results of a nationwide survey performed by the Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research (JSSR) on the complications associated with LLIF performed in Japan. Methods: JSSR members conducted a web-based survey following LLIF between 2015 and 2020. Any complications meeting the following criteria were included: (1) major vessel, (2) urinary tract, (3) renal, (4) visceral organ, (5) lung, (6) vertebral, (7) nerve, and (8) anterior longitudinal ligament injury; (9) weakness of psoas; (10) motor and (11) sensory deficit; (12) surgical site infection; and (13) other complications. The complications were analyzed in all LLIF patients, and the differences in incidence and type of complications between the transpsoas (TP) and prepsoas (PP) approaches were compared. Results: Among the 13,245 LLIF patients (TP 6,198 patients [47%] and PP 7,047 patients [53%]), 389 complications occurred in 366 (2.76%) patients. The most common complication was sensory deficit (0.5%), followed by motor deficit (0.43%) and weakness of psoas muscle (0.22%). Among the patient cohort, 100 patients (0.74%) required revision surgery during the survey period. Almost half of the complications developed in patients with spinal deformity (183 patients [47.0%]). Four patients (0.03%) died from complications. Statistically more frequent complications occurred in the TP approach than in the PP approach (TP vs. PP, 220 patients [3.55%] vs. 169 patients [2.40%]; p<0.001). Conclusions: The overall complication rate was 2.76%, and 0.74% of the patients required revision surgery because of complications. Four patients died from complications. LLIF may be beneficial for degenerative lumbar conditions with acceptable complications; however, the indication for spinal deformity should be carefully determined by the experience of the surgeon and the extent of the deformity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
JournalSpine Surgery and Related Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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