Neurospine.  2021 Jun;18(2):399-405. 10.14245/ns.2040640.320.

Transumbilical Retroperitoneal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Technical Note and Preliminary Case Series

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Chungdam Wooridul Spine Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of General Surgery, Chungdam Wooridul Spine Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Busan Wooridul Spine Hospital, Busan, Korea


Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) has advantages over posterior lumbar interbody fusion or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion techniques in that it minimizes damage to the anatomical structure of the posterior spinal segment and enables indirect decompression of the foramen by insertion of a tall cage. However, the predominant abdominal scar tissue reduces patients’ satisfaction after ALIF. Herein, we describe the technique of transumbilical lumbar interbody fusion (TULIF) and its preliminary results in a case series.
A retrospective review of 154 consecutive patients who underwent TULIF between the L2–3 and L4–5 levels was performed. After preoperatively selecting patients by evaluating the location of the umbilicus and vessel anatomy, a vertical skin incision was made on the umbilicus to minimize the abdominal scar tissue.
There were 120 single-level (110 L4–5 and 10 L3–4), 31 two-level, and 3 three-level surgeries. All patients were very satisfied with their postoperative abdominal scars, which were noticeably faint compared to those after conventional ALIF.
TULIF is a feasible, minimally invasive surgical option that can achieve both the treatment of degenerative spinal disease and satisfactory cosmesis. Although it is technically demanding, patients obtain sufficient benefits.


Anterior lumbar interbody fusion; Transumbilical lumbar interbody fusion; Scar less surgery; Lumbar interbody fusion
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