How dimensions can guide surgical planning and training: a systematic review of Kambin's triangle.

Journal Article (Systematic Review;Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: The authors sought to analyze the current literature to determine dimensional trends across the lumbar levels of Kambin's triangle, clarify the role of imaging techniques for preoperative planning, and understand the effect of inclusion of the superior articular process (SAP). This compiled knowledge of the triangle is needed to perform successful procedures, reduce nerve root injuries, and help guide surgeons in training. METHODS: The authors performed a search of multiple databases using combinations of keywords: Kambin's triangle, size, measurement, safe triangle, and bony triangle. Articles were included if their main findings included measurement of Kambin's triangle. The PubMed, Scopus, Ovid, Cochrane, Embase, and Medline databases were systematically searched for English-language articles with no time frame restrictions through July 2022. RESULTS: Eight studies comprising 132 patients or cadavers were included in the study. The mean ± SD age was 66.69 ± 9.6 years, and 53% of patients were male. Overall, the size of Kambin's triangle increased in area moving down vertebral levels, with L5-S1 being the largest (133.59 ± 4.36 mm2). This trend followed a linear regression model when SAP was kept (p = 0.008) and removed (p = 0.003). There was also a considerable increase in the size of Kambin's triangle if the SAP was removed. CONCLUSIONS: Here, the authors have provided the first reported systematic review of the literature of Kambin's triangle, its measurements at each lumbar level, and key areas of debate related to the definition of the working safe zone. These findings indicate that CT is heavily utilized for imaging of the safe zone, the area of Kambin's triangle tends to increase caudally, and variation exists between patients. Future studies should focus on using advanced imaging techniques for preoperative planning and establishing guidelines for surgeons.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Waguia Kouam, R; Tabarestani, TQ; Sykes, DAW; Gupta, N; Futch, BG; Kakmou, E; Goodwin, CR; Foster, NA; Than, KD; Wiggins, WF; Abd-El-Barr, MM

Published Date

  • January 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 54 / 1

Start / End Page

  • E6 -

PubMed ID

  • 36587400

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1092-0684

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3171/2022.10.FOCUS22606


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States