Robot-assisted multi-level anterior lumbar interbody fusion: an anatomical study.

  • Troude Lucas
  • Boissonneau Sébastien
  • Malikov Segueï
  • Champsaur Pierre
  • Blondel Benjamin
  • Dufour Henry
  • Fuentes Stéphane

  • Humans
  • Animals
  • Swine
  • Anatomical study
  • Lumbar interbody fusion
  • Multi-level lumbar spine surgery
  • Robot-assisted surgery
  • Diskectomy/methods
  • Intervertebral Disc/anatomy & histology/surgery
  • Lumbosacral Region/anatomy & histology/surgery
  • Robotics/methods
  • Spinal Fusion/methods


BACKGROUND: Minimally invasive surgical approaches still provide limited exposure. Access to the L2-L5 intervertebral discs during a single procedure is challenging and often requires repositioning of the patient and adopting an alternative approach. OBJECTIVES: Investigate the windows to the L2-L5 intervertebral discs to assess the dimensions of the interbody implants suitable for the procedure and evaluate the feasibility of multi-level lumbar intervertebral disc surgery in robot-assisted surgery (RAS) METHODS: Sixteen fresh-frozen cadaveric specimens underwent a retroperitoneal approach to access the L2-L5 intervertebral discs. The L2-L3 to L4-L5 windows were defined as the distance between the left lateral border of the aorta (or nearest common iliac vessel) and the medial border of the psoas, measured in a static state and after gentle medial retraction of the vascular structures. Two living porcine specimens and one cadaveric specimen underwent da Vinci robot-assisted transperitoneal approach to expose the L2-L3 to L4-L5 intervertebral discs and perform multi-level discectomy and interbody implant placement. RESULTS: The L2-L3 to L4-L5 intervertebral disc windows significantly increased from a static to a retracted state (p \textless 0.05). The mean L2-L3, L3-L4, and L4-L5 windows measured respectively 20.1, 21.6, and 19.6 mm in the static state, and 27.2, 30.9, and 30.3 mm after gentle vascular retraction. The intervertebral windows from L2-L3 to L4-L5 were successfully exposed through an anterior transperitoneal approach with the da Vinci robot on the cadaveric and living porcine specimens, and interbody implants were inserted. CONCLUSION: RAS appears to be feasible for a mini-invasive multi-level lumbar intervertebral disc surgery. The RAS procedure, longer and more expensive than conventional MIS approaches, should be reserved for elective patients.