Skip to:

Navigation-assisted fluoroscopy in minimally invasive direct lateral interbody fusion: a cadaveric study

Jonathan E. Webb, MD,1 Gilad J. Regev, MD,1 Steven R. Garfin, MD,1 Choll W. Kim, MD, PhD1,2

1University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA 2Spine Institute of San Diego at Alvarado Hospital, San Diego, CA



Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is dependent on intraoperative fluoroscopic imaging for visualization, which significantly increases exposure to radiation. Navigation-assisted fluoroscopy (NAV) can potentially decrease radiation exposure and improve the operating room environment by reducing the need for real-time fluoroscopy. The direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF) procedure is a technique for MIS intervertebral lumbar and thoracic interbody fusions. This study assesses the use of navigation for the DLIF procedure in comparison to standard fluoroscopy (FLUORO), as well as the accuracy of the NAV MIS DLIF procedure.


Three fresh whole-body cadavers underwent multiple DLIF procedures at the T10-L5 levels via either NAV or FLUORO. Radiation exposure and surgical times were recorded and compared between groups. An additional cadaver was used to evaluate the accuracy of the NAV system for the DLIF procedure by measuring the deviation error as the surgeon worked further from the anterior superior iliac spine tracker.


Approach, discectomy, and total fluoroscopy times for FLUORO were longer than NAV (P < .05). In contrast, the setup time was longer in NAV (P = .005). Cage insertion and total operating times were similar for both. Radiation exposure to the surgeon for NAV was significantly less than FLUORO (P < .05). Accuracy of the NAV system was within 1 mm for L2-5.


Navigation for the DLIF procedure is feasible. Accuracy for this procedure over the most common levels (L2-5) is likely sufficient for safe clinical application. Although initial setup times were longer with NAV, simultaneous anteroposterior and lateral imaging with the NAV system resulted in overall surgery times similar to FLUORO. Navigation minimizes fluoroscopic radiation exposure.

Clinical significance

Navigation for the DLIF procedure is accurate and decreases radiation exposure without increasing the overall surgical time.

Navigation, Direct lateral interbody fusion, Accuracy, minimally invasive spine surgery
Volume 4 Issue 4