The object of the study was to review the author's large series of minimally invasive spine surgeries for complication rates. The author reviewed a personal operative database for minimally access spine surgeries done through nonexpandable tubular retractors for extradural, nonfusion procedures. Consecutive cases (n = 1231) were reviewed for complications. There were no wound infections. Durotomy occurred in 33 cases (2.7% overall or 3.4% of lumbar cases). There were no external or symptomatic internal cerebrospinal fluid leaks or pseudomeningoceles requiring additional treatment. The only motor injuries were 3 C5 root palsies, 2 of which resolved. Minimally invasive spine surgery performed through tubular retractors can result in a low wound infection rate when compared to open surgery. Durotomy is no more common than open procedures and does not often result in the need for secondary procedures. New neurologic deficits are uncommon, with most observed at the C5 root. Minimally invasive spine surgery, even without benefits such as less pain or shorter hospital stays, can result in considerably lower complication rates than open surgery.
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