Iliolumbar Vein: Anatomy and Surgical Importance During Lateral Transpsoas and Oblique Approaches to Lumbar Spine.


Seattle Science Foundation, Seattle, Washington, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Safe surgical approaches to the anterolateral lumbar spine require a good working knowledge of the anatomy and anatomic variations of this region. As the iliolumbar vein is in the vicinity of both oblique and lateral transpsoas approaches to the lower lumbar spine, the following study was performed to better elucidate its anatomy, variations, and position during such surgical procedures.
METHODS : Fifteen (30 sides) fresh frozen adult cadavers underwent dissection of the iliolumbar vein (ILV). The origin, course, variants, relations, and morphometrics of each vein were documented. Fluoroscopy of the vessels was performed. Lastly, anterior oblique and lateral transpsoas approaches to the lumbar spine were carried out in order to evaluate for potential ILV injury.
RESULTS : An ILV was found on all but 2 sides (93.3%). It arose as a common trunk from the common iliac vein on 14 sides. Left ILVs tended to have a more distal origin than right ILVs. ILVs had a mean length of 3.7 cm and a mean width of 0.9 cm and were significantly larger on right versus left sides (P < 0.05). Left-sided ILVs tended to have more branches than right-sided veins. The majority of vertical branches of the ILV traveled anterior to the ventral rami of the lumbar spinal nerves, most commonly L4. The ILV and, in particular, its vertical branches coursed next to the L4 and L5 vertebrae.
CONCLUSIONS : The ILV should be considered during both oblique and lateral transpsoas approaches to the lumbar spine.


Ascending lumbar vein,Iliolumbar vein,Lateral approach to spinal surgery,Vascular injury,