(PLIF) Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

(PLIF) Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

A (PLIF) Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat a diseased or damaged disc compressing a nerve root and causing lower back and/or leg pain.

The procedure is performed when symptoms of the following conditions do not respond to non-surgical treatment options:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • A herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Sciatica

The goal of the procedure is to reduce pain by partially removing the disc and stabilizing the spine. Because the procedure is performed minimally invasively, less muscle tissue is damaged and patients experience less post surgical pain, spend less time in the hospital after surgery, and respond better to physical therapy.

Conditions Treated by PLIF

The Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion may be performed to treat the following conditions:
  • Degenerative disc disease.
  • Scoliosis.
  • Spinal Curvature Deformity.
  • Foraminal Stenosis.
  • Disc Herniation.
  • Spinal Stenosis.
  • Spinal Segmental Instability.
  • Radiculopathy.

PLIFs are typically performed on non-tobacco using patients who are in good medical condition. Additionally, the procedure is only performed when nonsurgical treatment options provide little to no symptom relief. If lower back and/or leg pain is ruining your quality of life, contact DISC of LA today to arrange a one-on-one consultation.

Benefits of PLIF

Doing a pure PLIF surgery has the advantage that it can provide anterior fusion of the disc space without having a second incision as would be necessary with an anterior/posterior spine fusion surgery.

The (PLIF) Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion Procedure

A PLIF is performed on an inpatient basis under general anesthesia. After the patient is comfortably asleep, they are gently placed face down on the operating table. A positioning device and soft circular pillow are used to ensure the patient is comfortable throughout the procedure. After the surgeon uses live x-ray to identify the problematic disc, the surgeon completes the procedure using the following steps:

  1. The incision. A small incision is made to the side of the problematic disc.
  2. Visualization. Using the guidance of x-ray, a series of dilators of increasing size are carefully passed through muscles and soft tissues.
  3. Retraction. A special instrument called a retractor is placed into the incision. The retractor is positioned so it holds the muscles and soft tissues to side, allowing the surgeon to view the compressed nerve root and problematic disc.
  4. Disc removal. Vertebral bone and portions of the problematic disc are removed to create space for the fusion to occur. If the disc has collapsed, the bones are moved back into an anatomical position.
  5. Implant insertion. The disc space is prepared and a spinal implant containing bone graft is inserted into it. In some cases, the surgeon places additional bone graft or other special materials around the implant to stimulate bone growth.
  6. Fixation. Special screws known as pedicle screws are placed into the bone. Connecting rods are inserted into the screws to provide extra stability.

Total procedure time is dependent upon the severity of the patient’s condition. Typically, the procedure takes 1-3-hours. After surgery, a 1-3-day hospital stay is usually necessary.

The Results

Following a successful (PLIF) Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion the bone graft fuses with existing bone to form a single, solid vertebra. The nerve is no longer compressed, vertebral anatomy is restored, and lower back and/or leg pain is decreased or eliminated.


More Information

If you have questions about spinal stenosis or the minimally invasive spine procedures offered by DISC of Louisiana, please contact us to schedule an evaluation at one of our clinics across the south Louisiana region.

DISC of Louisiana Locations

New Orleans | Hammond | Slidell | Covington | Metairie | Baton Rouge | Gonzales

This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and links to other sites, DISC of Louisiana provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through links to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use this information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. DISC of Louisiana is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.