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colon injuries; extreme lateral inter body fusion; spine surgery; xlif


 The extreme lateral interbody fusion technique (XLIF) is a modification of the retroperitoneal approach to the lumbar spine. This is a minimally invasive technique allowing direct access to the disc space without peritoneal or posterior paraspinal musculature damage. Nevertheless, the retroperitoneal part of the colon can be injured in this operative technique. To our knowledge, a study analyzing the anatomical considerations of the extreme lateral interbody fusion technique with regards to potential colon injuries has not been previously performed. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the potential risk of colon injuries during the extreme lateral approach to the lumbar spine. Materials and Methods
 The extreme lateral approach to the lumbar spine was performed on four fresh-frozen cadaveric sides. K-wires were placed into the intervertebral discs and positioned at L1/L2, L2/L3, L3/L4, and L4/L5 levels. Next, the distances from the wires to the most posterior aspect of the adjacent ascending or descending colon were measured.
 The mean distance from the intervertebral disc space to the ascending or descending colon was 23.2 mm at the L2/L3 level, 29.5 mm at the L3/L4 level, and 40.3 mm at the L4/L5 level. The L1/L2 level was above the colon on both sides.
 Our study quantified the relationship of the retroperitoneal colon during an extreme lateral interbody fusion approach. Our results, as well as previously described cases of bowel perforations, suggest a greater risk for colon injuries at the L2/3 and L3/4 levels..

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Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)



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