Using Novel Segmentation Technology to Define Safe Corridors for Minimally Invasive Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion.


Background and objectives

There has been a rise in minimally invasive methods to access the intervertebral disk space posteriorly given their decreased tissue destruction, lower blood loss, and earlier return to work. Two such options include the percutaneous lumbar interbody fusion through the Kambin triangle and the endoscopic transfacet approach. However, without accurate preoperative visualization, these approaches carry risks of damaging surrounding structures, especially the nerve roots. Using novel segmentation technology, our goal was to analyze the anatomic borders and relative sizes of the safe triangle, trans-Kambin, and the transfacet corridors to assist surgeons in planning a safe approach and determining cannula diameters.


The areas of the safe triangle, Kambin, and transfacet corridors were measured using commercially available software (BrainLab, Munich, Germany). For each approach, the exiting nerve root, traversing nerve roots, theca, disk, and vertebrae were manually segmented on 3-dimensional T2-SPACE magnetic resonance imaging using a region-growing algorithm. The triangles' borders were delineated ensuring no overlap between the area and the nerves.


A total of 11 patients (65.4 ± 12.5 years, 33.3% female) were retrospectively reviewed. The Kambin, safe, and transfacet corridors were measured bilaterally at the operative level. The mean area (124.1 ± 19.7 mm2 vs 83.0 ± 11.7 mm2 vs 49.5 ± 11.4 mm2) and maximum permissible cannula diameter (9.9 ± 0.7 mm vs 6.8 ± 0.5 mm vs 6.05 ± 0.7 mm) for the transfacet triangles were significantly larger than Kambin and the traditional safe triangles, respectively (P < .001).


We identified, in 3-dimensional, the borders for the transfacet corridor: the traversing nerve root extending inferiorly until the caudal pedicle, the theca medially, and the exiting nerve root superiorly. These results illustrate the utility of preoperatively segmenting anatomic landmarks, specifically the nerve roots, to help guide decision-making when selecting the optimal operative approach.






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Tabarestani, Troy Q, David S Salven, David AW Sykes, Anas M Bardeesi, Alyssa M Bartlett, Timothy Y Wang, Mounica R Paturu, Christopher F Dibble, et al. (2023). Using Novel Segmentation Technology to Define Safe Corridors for Minimally Invasive Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. Operative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.). 10.1227/ons.0000000000001046 Retrieved from

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