Minimally invasive vs. open TLIF: 5 findings for spinal fusion

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

A new study published in Spine compares open and Wiltse minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion outcomes. 


Study authors examined patient charges for those who underwent posterior lumbar interbody fusions over a five-year period. The patients were categorized by open procedures, which were performed with the traditional midline exposure, or bilateral paramedian Wiltse TLIF.

Five key findings:

1. Of the 227 patients who underwent the procedure, 116 had open surgery and 111 had minimally invasive procedures. The minimally invasive group experienced lower blood loss than the open group, reported as 197 mL and 499 mL respectively.

2. Patients who underwent the minimally invasive procedure had an average 2.7-day length of stay at the hospital, compared to 3.6 days for open procedures.

3. The overall complication rate for open procedures was 24 percent while the complication rate was 12 percent for minimally invasive surgery. Around 7 percent of patients in the minimally invasive group and 16 percent in the open group reported minor complications.

4. Ninety-day readmissions were lower in the minimally invasive group, with 1 percent being readmitted, compared with 8 percent of the open group.

5. The minimally invasive patients underwent fluoroscopy for 83 seconds, compared with 24 seconds for the open group. The operative time, reoperation rate and infection rate were similar for both groups.

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