Background: The oblique lateral interbody fusion technique has received increasing attention for the treatment of degenerative disc disease in recent years. A series of complications have been reported, such as vascular injury, sympathetic chain injury, and transient psoas weakness, although it is regarded as a relatively safe technique. CASE PRESENTATION: A 55-year-old male patient of Han nationality was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis and underwent standalone oblique lateral interbody fusion surgery under general anethesia. Three days after the operation, subcutaneous gas accumulation appeared in the left lower abdomen of the patient with no inflammatory reaction of the wound. He was treated with conservative management, and the retroperitoneal pneumatosis and subcutaneous emphysema had disappeared completely 1 month later.
Conclusions: To date, this is the first reported case of retroperitoneal pneumatosis and subcutaneous emphysema related to oblique lateral interbody fusion surgery, which broadens the scope of the complications of oblique lateral interbody fusion surgery.