Curve laterality for lateral lumbar interbody fusion in adult scoliosis surgery: The concave versus convex controversy

Adam S. Kanter, Zachary J. Tempel, Nitin Agarwal, D. Kojo Hamilton, Joseph M. Zavatsky, Gregory M. Mundis, Stacie Tran, Dean Chou, Paul Park, Juan S. Uribe, Michael Y. Wang, Neel Anand, Robert Eastlack, Praveen V. Mummaneni, David O. Okonkwo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is an effective adjunct in adult degenerative scoliosis (ADS) surgery. LLIF approaches performed from the concavity or convexity have inherent approach-related risks and benefits. OBJECTIVE To analyze LLIF approach-related complications and radiographic and clinical outcomes in patients with ADS. METHODS A multicenter retrospective review of a minimally invasive adult spinal deformity database was queried with a minimum of 2-yr follow-up. Patients were divided into 2 groups as determined by the side of the curve from which the LLIF was performed: concave or convex. RESULTS No differences between groups were noted in demographic, and preoperative or postoperative radiographic parameters (all P >.05). There were 8 total complications in the convex group (34.8%) and 21 complications in the concave group (52.5%; P =.17). A subgroup analysis was performed in 49 patients in whom L4-5 was in the primary curve and not in the fractional curve. In this subset of patients, there were 6 complications in the convex group (31.6%) compared to 19 in the concave group (63.3%; P <.05) and both groups experienced significant improvements in coronal Cobb angle, Oswestry Disability Index, and Visual Analog Scale score with no difference between groups. CONCLUSION Patients undergoing LLIF for ADS had no statistically significant clinical or operative complication rates regardless of a concave or convex approach to the curve. Clinical outcomes and coronal plane deformity improved regardless of approach side. However, in cases wherein L4-5 is in the primary curve, approaching the fractional curve at L4-5 from the concavity may be associated with a higher complication rate compared to a convex approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1225
Number of pages7
JournalClinical neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Complications
  • Concavity
  • Convexity
  • Fractional curve
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion


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