Asian Spine J.  2019 Apr;13(2):325-333. 10.31616/asj.2018.0087.

Does the Cage Position in Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion Determine Unilateral versus Bilateral Screw Placement?: A Review of the Literature

  • 1Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA.
  • 2Department of Neurological Surgery, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA.


This literature review examines the relative placement of the interbody cage with respect to the unilateral screw construct to address the need for bilateral screw placement versus unilateral screw placement. Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) has become a widely used technique for correcting lumbar intervertebral pathologies. This review addresses the necessity for further study on the effects of the relative position of intervertebral cage placement on the outcome of lumbar spine surgery after TLIF with unilateral pedicle screw fixation. Previous studies have addressed various factors, including posterior screw fixation, cage size, cage shape, and number of levels fused, that impact the biomechanics of the lumbar spine following TLIF. A simple survey of the literature was conducted. A search of the English literature was conducted using the keywords "˜TLIF,'"˜transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion,'"˜graft placement,'"˜graft position,'"˜cage position,'"˜cage placement,'"˜unilateral pedicle screw,'"˜unilateral TLIF cage placement,'"˜lumbar biomechanics,'"˜lumbar stability,'"˜lumbar fusion,' and "˜lumbar intervertebral cage' with various combinations of the operators "˜AND' and "˜OR' and no date restrictions. Seventeen articles in the English literature that were most relevant to this research question were identified. To the best of our knowledge, there are no published data addressing the effects of cage placement relative to the unilateral screw on lumbar stability in TLIF with unilateral pedicle screw fixation. Investigation of the effects of cage placement is, thus, warranted to achieve optimal clinical outcomes in patients undergoing TLIF with unilateral pedicle screw fixation.


Lumbar vertebrae; Pedicle screws; Spinal fusion; Bone screws; Review

MeSH Terms

Bone Screws
Lumbar Vertebrae
Pedicle Screws
Spinal Fusion
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