Minimal access surgery in managing anterior lumbar disorders

Tsung Jen Huang, Robert Wen Wei Hsu, Shih Hao Chen, Yan Yaw Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional anterior lumbar surgery usually requires a long and sometimes painful skin incision. The current study evaluated the feasibility and safety of minimal access surgery for anterior lumbar disorders, emphasizing indications, operative technique, and the minimum 2-year followup results. From May 1996 to December 1997, the authors used this technique on 25 patients whose indications for surgery included syndromes of failed back surgery, selected cases of lumbar disc herniations, tuberculous or pyogenic spondylitis, selected spondylolisthesis, and vertebral tumors. In 23 of 25 patients, the site of interest was approached through a left flank incision, regardless of the laterality of the lesion. The mean length of the main incision was 5 cm. There were no injuries to great vessels or any neurologic deterioration after the procedures. Solid interbody fusion could be identified radiographically between 3 and 6 months after surgery. At a mean followup of 39.6 months, nine patients had excellent clinical outcomes, 11 patients had good outcomes, two patients had fair outcomes, and one patient had a poor outcome. The authors think such minimal access surgery is simple, effective, and safe for anterior lumbar disorders. The merits of the current technique include no need for endoscopic, microscopic, or complex surgical instruments, a lower amount of radiation exposure during surgery, and a shortened learning curve because the approach is similar to the anterior open lumbar technique, although the skin incision is only 5 cm in length.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-147
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number387
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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