A radiological and cadaveric study of oblique lumbar interbody fixation in patients with normal spinal anatomy

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether it would be feasible to use oblique lumbar interbody fixation for patients with degenerative lumbar disease who required a fusion but did not have a spondylolisthesis.

A series of CT digital images from 60 patients with abdominal disease were reconstructed in three dimensions (3D) using Mimics v10.01: a digital cylinder was superimposed on the reconstructed image to simulate the position of an interbody screw. The optimal entry point of the screw and measurements of its trajectory were recorded. Next, 26 cadaveric specimens were subjected to oblique lumbar interbody fixation on the basis of the measurements derived from the imaging studies. These were then compared with measurements derived directly from the cadaveric vertebrae.

Our study suggested that it is easy to insert the screws for L1/2, L2/3 and L3/4 fixation: there was no significant difference in measurements between those of the 3-D digital images and the cadaveric specimens. For L4/5 fixation, part of L5 inferior articular process had to be removed to achieve the optimal trajectory of the screw. For L5/S1 fixation, the screw heads were blocked by iliac bone: consequently, the interior oblique angle of the cadaveric specimens was less than that seen in the 3D digital images.

We suggest that CT scans should be carried out pre-operatively if this procedure is to be adopted in clinical practice. This will assist in determining the feasibility of the procedure and will provide accurate information to assist introduction of the screws.

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