Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
The minimally invasive PLIF procedures is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The surgeon will stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material. The goal of the procedure is to stabilize your spine, reduce back pain and lessen leg pain.
During the procedure, you will lie face down on the operating table. Your surgeon will access your spine through a small incision in your back to minimize the disruption of muscle tissue.
Your surgeon will place a special instrument called a retractor into the incision and once he reaches your spine, he will remove the disc between the bones to create a space for fusion to occur. If the disc has collapsed from disease, the bones are moved back into a more normal position.
Your surgeon then prepares the area where the disc was removed so that a spinal implant can be placed. After measuring the size of the space, your surgeon inserts an implant made of bone or a strong synthetic material filled with bone graft into the disc space. This implant gives critical support to the spine and aids bonehealing. Your surgeon may place additional bone graft or other special material around the implant to stimulate bone growth – which may take several months.
Your surgeon may then place screws called pedicle screws into the bone, and connecting rods are inserted into the screws to give your spine extra stability. This holds everything in place as your spine heals. Over time, if your surgery is successful, the bones will grow together, or fuse.
Upon healing, small scars will remain on your back from your incisions.