Minimally invasive surgery for thoracolumbar spinal deformity: Initial clinical experience with clinical and radiographic outcomes

Michael Y. Wang, Praveen V. Mummaneni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Object. Adult degenerative scoliosis can be a cause of intractable pain, decreased mobility, and reduced quality of life. Surgical correction of this problem frequently leads to substantial clinical improvement, but advanced age, medical comorbidities, osteoporosis, and the rigidity of the spine result in high surgical complication rates. Minimally invasive surgery is being applied to this patient population in an effort to reduce the high complication rates associated with adult deformity surgery.Methods. A retrospective study of 23 patients was undertaken to assess the clinical and radiographic results with minimally invasive surgery for adult thoracolumbar deformity surgery. All patients underwent a lateral interbody fusion followed by posterior percutaneous screw fixation and possible minimally invasive surgical transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion if fusion near the lumbosacral junction was necessary. A mean of 3.7 intersegmental levels were treated (range 2-7 levels). The mean follow-up was 13.4 months.Results. The mean preoperative Cobb angle was 31.4°, and it was corrected to 11.5° at follow-up. The mean blood loss was 477 ml, and the operative time was 401 minutes. The mean visual analog scale score improvement for axial pain was 3.96. Clear evidence of fusion was seen on radiographs at 84 of 86 treated levels, with no interbody pseudarthroses. Complications included 2 returns to the operating room, one for CSF leakage and the other for hardware pullout. There were no wound infections, pneumonia, deep venous thrombosis, or new neurological deficits. However, of all patients, 30.4% experienced new thigh numbness, dysesthesias, pain, or weakness, and in one patient these new symptoms were persistent.Conclusions. The minimally invasive surgical treatment of adult deformities is a promising method for reducing surgical morbidity. Numerous challenges exist, as the surgical technique does not yet allow for all correction maneuvers used in open surgery. However, as the techniques are advanced, the applicability of minimally invasive surgery for this population will likely be expanded and will afford the opportunity for reduced complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Aging spine
  • Deformity
  • Interbody fusion
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Pedicle screw
  • Scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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