We’re always told to stand up straight, but your spine isn’t necessarily a straight line. The lower back curves inward, while the upper back curves outward to accommodate the organs of the chest. So despite having a straight appearance from the front, the spine maintains arcs that are vital to body support. When these curvatures are even minimally off center, a spinal condition like scoliosis may be causing the issue.
To correct this complication or others, a posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgery may be the best option.
To assess your condition before surgery, your doctor will have you undergo tests like an MRI or CT scan to determine what size implant may be necessary to correct your spinal issue. During surgery, you will be sedated before an incision in your back is made to help your surgeon access your spine. At this point, your doctor will insert any needed pedicle screws above and/or below the fusion site.
Once these are in place, your surgeon may remove any or all of the following:
Once this step is complete, your orthopedic surgeon may attach medical-grade rods to any pedicle screws previously installed. These will help realign your spine by correcting abnormal curves or slipped vertebrae. Afterward, a bone grafting material will be placed within the open space to encourage the vertebrae to fuse. You might also have a special cage installed to better support and fill the remaining gap where disc cartilage once was.
This surgery is an inpatient procedure, and most patients can head home 3–5 days after surgery. During the hospital stay, you can expect to meet with physical therapists who will instruct you on the best walking techniques and how to get out of bed. You will receive direction regarding any restrictions and after-care during the first few weeks post-surgery. Over time, you will eventually be able to do more bending, twisting, and lifting once your muscles have healed and your back is stronger.
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Besides providing pain relief, patients that undergo a posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery can benefit from this minimally invasive procedure in other ways, such as:
Several research studies have demonstrated that PLIF surgery results in positive outcomes in patients seeking to correct symptoms of spinal conditions like degenerative disc disease and scoliosis. Patients in these studies experienced significant improvements in their back pain, and many returned to daily activities they had previously lost the ability to perform.
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Posterior lumbar interbody fusion procedures are typically reserved for patients suffering from significantly painful spinal disease or conditions that conservative treatment options are unsuccessful in addressing.
These conditions include:
It’s important to remember that not everyone will qualify for PLIF surgery. Those who suffer from spinal infections or tumors or who have allergic reactions to surgical materials or sedatives may be unable to undergo this treatment option. Speak with your physician to learn more about why these issues can affect your ability to undergo this procedure.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we use medical equipment and procedures that help our patients recover sooner. Our board-certified surgeons and medical experts are successful leaders in the healthcare industry. We believe that everyone deserves to experience pain-free living and have access to the best care possible.
Don’t resign yourself to a life of discomfort and immobility. We at NJ Spine & Orthopedics are here to help you put an end to chronic pain and inflammation associated with health conditions that cause damage to the curvature of your spine. If conservative treatment methods are not alleviating your spinal issues, it may be time to speak with your physician about a PLIF procedure. Try our free Treatment Finder tool, call (866) 272-9271, or contact us online to begin seeking the best solution to your pain.
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Effective pain relief; less scarring— a postage stamp-sized incision (less than an inch in length) is often all that it takes to eliminate your pain.
Our minimally invasive and outpatient procedures will have you back in the comfort of your home on the very same day.
Our surgeons use advanced video-assisted technology to optimize the effectiveness of your procedure while minimizing post-operative pain.
Our board certified surgeons are skilled in the latest minimally invasive techniques to deliver lasting solutions to your neck & back pain.
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