Assessing the differences in operative and patient-reported outcomes between lateral approaches for lumbar fusion: a systematic review and indirect meta-analysis

Atiq ur Rehman Bhatti, Joseph Cesare, Waseem Wahood, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Chiduziem E. Onyedimma, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Oluwatoyin Akinnusotu, Sally El Sammak, Brett A. Freedman, Arjun S. Sebastian, Mohamad Bydon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Anterior-to-psoas lumbar interbody fusion (ATP-LIF), more commonly referred to as oblique lateral interbody fusion, and lateral transpsoas lumbar interbody fusion (LTP-LIF), also known as extreme lateral interbody fusion, are the two commonly used lateral approaches for performing a lumbar fusion procedure. These approaches help overcome some of the technical challenges associated with traditional approaches for lumbar fusion. In this systematic review and indirect meta-analysis, the authors compared operative and patient-reported outcomes between these two select approaches using available studies. METHODS Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach, the authors conducted an electronic search using the PubMed, EMBASE, and Scopus databases for studies published before May 1, 2019. Indirect meta-analysis was conducted on fusion rate, cage movement (subsidence plus migration), permanent deficits, and transient deficits; results were depicted as forest plots of proportions (effect size [ES]). RESULTS A total of 63 studies were included in this review after applying the exclusion criteria, of which 26 studies investigated the outcomes of ATP-LIF, while 37 studied the outcomes of LTP-LIF. The average fusion rate was found to be similar between the two groups (ES 0.97, 95% CI 0.84–1.00 vs ES 0.94, 95% CI 0.91–0.97; p = 0.561). The mean incidence of cage movement was significantly higher in the ATP-LIF group compared with the LTP-LIF group (stand-alone: ES 0.15, 95% CI 0.06–0.27 vs ES 0.09, 95% CI 0.04–0.16 [p = 0.317]; combined: ES 0.18, 95% CI 0.07–0.32 vs ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.00–0.05 [p = 0.002]). The mean incidence of reoperations was significantly higher in patients undergoing ATP-LIF than in those undergoing LTP-LIF (ES 0.02, 95% CI 0.01–0.03 vs ES 0.04, 95% CI 0.02–0.07; p = 0.012). The mean incidence of permanent deficits was similar between the two groups (stand-alone: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.05, 95% CI 0.01–0.12 [p = 0.204]; combined: ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.01–0.06 vs ES 0.03, 95% CI 0.00–0.08 [p = 0.595]). The postoperative changes in visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores were both found to be higher for ATP-LIF relative to LTP-LIF (VAS: weighted average 4.11 [SD 2.03] vs weighted average 3.75 [SD 1.94] [p = 0.004]; ODI: weighted average 28.3 [SD 5.33] vs weighted average 24.3 [SD 4.94] [p < 0.001]). CONCLUSIONS These analyses indicate that while both approaches are associated with similar fusion rates, ATP-LIF may be related to higher odds of cage movement and reoperations as compared with LTP-LIF. Furthermore, there is no difference in rates of permanent deficits between the two procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-514
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • ATP
  • LLIF
  • LTP
  • OLIF
  • XLIF
  • anterior to psoas
  • lateral lumbar interbody fusion
  • lateral to psoas
  • oblique lumbar interbody fusion
  • transpsoas lumbar interbody fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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