Study DesignRetrospective comparative clinical study.PurposeThis study aimed to assess paraspinal muscle atrophy in patients who underwent minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) and unilateral pedicle screw fixation using a novel contralateral intact muscle-controlled model.Overview of LiteratureThe increased incidence of paravertebral lumbar muscle injuries after open techniques has raised the importance of implementing minimally invasive spine surgical techniques using tubular retractors and minimally invasive screw placement. The functional cross-sectional area (FCSA) represents the lean muscle mass; furthermore, FCSA is a useful marker of the contractile ability of a muscle following a spine surgery. However, the benefits of unilateral fixation and MI-TLIF on paraspinal muscles have not been defined.MethodsWe performed a retrospective imagenological review on eleven patients who underwent unilateral MI-TLIF and unilateral transpedicular screw lumbar placement. FCSAs of the multifidus and erector spinae were measured 1 year after surgery at adjacent levels and were compared to the contralateral intact muscles. Measurement differences between the surgical and nonsurgical sites were compared. The interobserver reliability was calculated using an intraclass correlation coefficient.ResultsThe mean FCSA at the surgical site was 20.97±5.07 cm2 at the superior level and 8.89±2.87 cm2 at the inferior level. The mean FCSA at the contralateral nonsurgical site was 20.15±5.95 cm2 at the superior level and 9.20±2.66 cm2 at the inferior level was. The superior and inferior FCSA measurements showed no significant difference between the surgical and nonsurgical sites (p=0.5, p=0.922, respectively).ConclusionsUsing a mini-open tubular approach through the sulcus between the longissimus and iliocostalis, MI-TLIF and unilateral pedicle screw instrumentation produced minimal paraspinal muscle damage at the superior and inferior adjacent levels.
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