To evaluate the effects of prior abdominal surgery and obesity and the level of spine exposure on the technical aspects and complications of anterior retroperitoneal exposure of the lumbar spine (ARES).
Retrospective review of prospective database.
Academic vascular surgery practice.
Patients undergoing ARES from 2001 to 2011.
Main Outcome Measures
Influence of prior abdominal surgery, obesity, and level of exposure on time to spine exposure and incidence of vascular and perioperative complications.
Four hundred seventy-six patients underwent ARES. Mean (SD) age was 47.7 (12.6) years; 46.6% had undergone prior abdominal surgery. Mean (SD) body mass index (BMI) was 28.3 (5.5); 61.6% of procedures included the L4-5 disk. Mean (SD) time to exposure was 70.0 (25.5) minutes. Vascular injury occurred in 23.3% (3.8% major). Perioperative complications occurred in 16.4% of cases. Prior abdominal surgery had no effect on time to exposure, vascular injury, and perioperative complications. A BMI of 30 or more had no effect on time to exposure compared with a lower BMI. A BMI of 30 or more led to higher rates of vascular injury (30.8% vs 19.7%; P = .007) and overall complications (21.4% vs 14.0%; P = .04). Exposures involving L4-5 led to increased time to exposure (77.0 vs 56.2 minutes; P < .001) and higher rates of vascular injury (29.7% vs 13.1%; P < .001) but had no effect on overall complications compared with exposures for other levels.
Prior abdominal surgery should not be considered a contraindication to ARES. Caution is warranted in obese patients and exposures involving L4-5.