Comparison of SpineJet™ XL and Conventional Instrumentation
Objective Although unilateral transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is widely used because of its benefits, it does have some technical limitations. Removal of disk material and endplate cartilage is difficult, but essential, for proper fusion in unilateral surgery, leading to debate regarding the surgery's limitations in removing the disk material on the contralateral side. Therefore, authors have conducted a randomized, comparative cadaver study in order to evaluate the efficiency of the surgery when using conventional instruments in the preparation of the disk space and when using the recently developed high-pressure water jet system, SpineJet™ XL. Methods Two spine surgeons performed diskectomies and disk preparations for TLIF in 20 lumbar disks. All cadaver/surgeon/level allocations for preparation using the SpineJet™ XL (HydroCision Inc., Boston, MA, USA) or conventional tools were randomized. All assessments were performed by an independent spine surgeon who was unaware of the randomizations. The authors measured the areas (cm2) and calculated the proportion (%) of the disk surfaces. The duration of the disk preparation and number of instrument insertions and withdrawals required to complete the disk preparation were recorded for all procedures. Results The proportion of the area of removed disk tissue versus that of potentially removable disk tissue, the proportion of the area of removed endplate cartilage, and the area of removed disk tissue in the contralateral posterior portion showed 74.5 ± 17.2%, 18.5 ± 12.03%, and 67.55 ± 16.10%, respectively, when the SpineJet™ XL was used, and 52.6 ± 16.9%, 22.8 ± 17.84%, and 51.64 ± 19.63%, respectively, when conventional instrumentations were used. The results also showed that when the SpineJet™ XL was used, the proportion of the area of removed disk tissue versus that of potentially removable disk tissue and the area of removed disk tissue in the contralateral posterior portion were statistically significantly high (p p Conclusion The present study demonstrates that hydrosurgery using the SpineJet™ XL unit allows for the preparation of a greater portion of disk space and that it is less traumatic and allows for more precise endplate preparation without damage to the bony endplate. Furthermore, the SpineJet™ XL appears to provide tangible benefits in terms of disk space preparation for graft placement, particularly when using the unilateral TLIF approach.