Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)

Our Spine Program is run by Awarded Spine Expert Dr. Steven Leckie.

Locations in Duxbury & Sandwich, Massachusetts

About Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF):

A Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is a Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion procedure that utilizes a posterior approach (from the back). This goal of this procedure is to not only alleviate symptoms such as lower back pain or Sciatica but also to fuse vertebrae of the spine to increase stability in the spine. The term “interbody fusion” indicates that the herniated or damaged intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone spacer.

How is it performed?

A PLIF is performed by first making an incision in the midsection of the back near the affected spinal segments. Next, specialized instruments are used to detach tissue and muscles from the lamina.  Next, a Laminectomy is performed which allows the surgeon to visualize the nerve roots. The facet joints are in some cases trimmed to give the nerve roots more room. The spinal nerve roots are then retracted to one side and the space for the disc is cleaned of any damaged disc material.  A Laminectomy and the removal of disc material is what allows the spinal nerves to be decompressed and results in relief from symptoms such as lower back pain and/or Sciatica.

Finally, a small cage is inserted into the disc space so that bone can grow across vertebral bodies.  Over time, this cage implant will fuse with the vertebrae above and below to form one stable spinal segment.


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