Incidence of graft extrusion following minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion

Joshua Bakhsheshian, Ryan Khanna, Winward Choy, Cort D. Lawton, Alex T. Nixon, Albert P. Wong, Tyler R. Koski, John C. Liu, John K. Song, Nader S. Dahdaleh, Zachary A. Smith, Richard G. Fessler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) has been scrutinized for having a complex learning curve. Careful assessment of MI-TLIF complications and critical analyses of prevention may aid a safe adoption of this technique. The current report focuses on the incidence of interbody cage extrusions following MI-TLIF in a series of 513 patients. The authors discuss their experience with graft extrusions and provide methods to minimize this complication. This study retrospectively reviewed 513 prospectively followed patients who underwent MI-TLIF over a 10 year period. The inclusion criteria consisted of all patients who underwent one to three level MI-TLIF, from whom the incidence of cage extrusion was analyzed. Cage extrusion was defined as an interbody graft migrating outside the cephalad and caudal vertebral body posterior margin. Cage extrusions were diagnosed by comparing the intraoperative radiographs to the postoperative radiographs. Patients with >10° coronal curves, significant sagittal malalignment, infection, and preoperative instrumentation failure were excluded. Of 513 patients undergoing MI-TLIF, five patients (0.97%) were diagnosed with cage migrations. The mean follow-up duration was 13.6 ± standard deviation of 8.8 months. Complications included asymptomatic cage migration alone (two patients) neurological decline (two patients) and epidural hematoma (one patient). On average, cage migrations cost a university hospital an additional $US17,217 for revision treatment. While the incidence of cage migrations is low (0.97%), it can lead to postoperative complications that require revision surgery and increased hospital costs. The risk for this significant complication can be minimized with proper technique and patient selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-93
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Cage
  • Extrusion
  • Graft
  • Migration
  • TLIF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Incidence of graft extrusion following minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this