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Safe working zones using the minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach: a morphometric study

PURPOSE: The minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach is a recent technique developed for lumbar interbody fusion and discectomy. The proximity of the retroperitoneal vessels and ventral nerve roots to the surgical pathway increases the risk of injury to these anatomical structures. A precise knowledge of the regional anatomy of the lumbar plexus is required for safe passage through the psoas muscle. Preoperative examination of the axial MRI images will allow the surgeon to observe the neural structures at the operative levels and confirm that abdominal vessels do not obstruct the lateral disc space. The objective of this study was to determine the anatomic position of the ventral nerve roots and the retroperitoneal vessels in relation to the vertebral body in the degenerative spine and to delineate a safe working zone using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated lumbar spine MRI in 78 patients (from L1-L2 to L4-L5). The total number of lumbar vertebrae measured was 304 levels. Sagittal MRI sections were used to measure disc height (anterior, middle, posterior). Axial MRI sections were used to measure the sagittal and transversal vertebral endplate diameters, the overlap between ventral nerve roots and the posterior border of the lower endplate of the vertebral body, and the overlap between the retroperitoneal vessels and the anterior border of the lower endplate of the vertebral body. The safe zone was subsequently calculated. It was defined as the relative lower endplate vertebral body sagittal diameter that is anterior to the nerve root and is posterior to the retroperitoneal vessels. RESULTS: The safe working zone was 75.3% of the lower endplate of the vertebral body sagittal diameter at L1-L2, 59.5% at L2-L3, 51.9% at L3-L4 and 37.8% at L4-L5 levels. This area significantly decreases from L1-L2 to L4-L5 (p < 0.05). Compared with L1-L2, L2-L3 levels, the more anterior position of the nerve root and the more posterior position of the retroperitoneal vessels at the L4-L5 level causes a significant reduction of this area. Compared with the L3-L4 level, we observed that the safe zone decrease was simply secondary to the more anterior position of the nerve roots at the L4-L5 level. CONCLUSION: Preoperative planning and safe zone delineation are a simple method to assess the relative position of neural and vascular anatomic structures in relation to the surgical area. This method can help spine surgeons to prevent perioperative complications Keywords : Adult,Aged,anatomy & histology,blood supply,complications,Female,France,Humans,Iatrogenic Disease,injuries,innervation,Lumbar Vertebrae,Magnetic Resonance Imaging,Male,methods,Middle Aged,Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures,Patients,prevention & control,Psoas Muscles,Retroperitoneal Space,Retrospective Studies,secondary,Spinal Fusion,Spinal Nerve Roots,Spine,surgery,, Working,Zones,Using,Minimally, london ontario spine clinic

Date of Publication : 2011 Oct

Authors : Guerin P;Obeid I;Gille O;Bourghli A;Luc S;Pointillart V;Cursolle JC;Vital JM;

Organisation : Laboratoire d’Anatomie Medico-Chirurgicale Appliquee, Universite Victor Segalen, Bordeaux 2, 146 rue Leo Saignat, 33000, Bordeaux, France. patrick.guerin@chu-bordeaux.fr

Journal of Publication : Surg Radiol Anat

Pubmed Link : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21384202

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