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The Top 50 Articles on Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Virk, Sohrab S., MD, MBA; Yu, Elizabeth, MD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001797

Study Design. Bibliometric study of current literature.

Objective. To catalog the most important minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgery articles using the amount of citations as a marker of relevance.

Summary of Background Data. MIS surgery is a relatively new tool used by spinal surgeons. There is a dynamic and evolving field of research related to MIS techniques, clinical outcomes, and basic science research. To date, there is no comprehensive review of the most cited articles related to MIS surgery.

Methods. A systematic search was performed over three widely used literature databases: Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. There were four searches performed using the terms “minimally invasive spine surgery,” “endoscopic spine surgery,” “percutaneous spinal surgery,” and “lateral interbody surgery.” The amount of citations included was averaged amongst the three databases to rank each article. The query of the three databases was performed in November 2015.

Results. Fifty articles were selected based upon the amount of citations each averaged amongst the three databases. The most cited article was titled “Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF): a novel surgical technique for anterior lumbar interbody fusion” by Ozgur et al and was credited with 447, 239, and 279 citations in Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus, respectively. Citations ranged from 27 to 239 for Web of Science, 60 to 279 for Scopus, and 104 to 462 for Google Scholar. There was a large variety of articles written spanning over 14 different topics with the majority dealing with clinical outcomes related to MIS surgery.

Conclusion. The majority of the most cited articles were level III and level IV studies. This is likely due to the relatively recent nature of technological advances in the field. Furthermore level I and level II studies are required in MIS surgery in the years ahead.

Level of Evidence: 5

Department of Orthopedics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Elizabeth Yu, MD, Department of Orthopedics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 725 Prior Hall, Columbus, OH 43210; E-mail:

Received 3 May, 2016

Revised 22 June, 2016

Accepted 1 July, 2016

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work.

No relevant financial activities outside the submitted work.

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