1573. Failure of Indirect Decompression following Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Reported Failures and Predictive Factors

Authors: Sertac Kirnaz; Rodrigo Navarro-Ramirez, MD, MSc; Jiaao Gu, MD; Christoph Wipplinger, MD; Franziska Schmidt, MD; Ibrahim Hussain, MD; Roger Härtl, MD (New York, NY)


In patients with symptomatic lumbar stenosis undergoing lateral transpsoas approach for lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) surgery, it is not always clear when indirect decompression is sufficient in order to achieve symptom resolution. Indirect Decompression Failure (IDF), defined as “postoperative persistent symptoms of nerve compression with or without a second direct decompression surgery to reach adequate symptom resolution," is not widely reported. This information, however, is critical to better understand the indications, the potential and the limitations of indirect decompression. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the current literature on IDF after LLIF.


A literature search was performed on PubMed. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and prospective, retrospective, case-control studies and case reports. Information on sample size, demographics, procedure, number and location of involved levels, follow-up time, and complications were extracted.


After applying the exclusion criteria, we included 9 of the 268 screened articles that reported failure. 632 patients were screened in these articles and detailed information was provided. Average follow-up time was 21 months. Overall reported incidence of IDF was 9%.


Failures of decompression via LLIF are inconsistently reported and the incidence is approximately 9%. IDF failure in LLIF may be underreported or misinterpreted as a complication. We propose to include the term “IDF” as described in this manuscript to differentiate them from complications for future studies. A better understanding of why IDF occurs will allow surgeons to better plan surgical intervention and will avoid revision surgery.