Posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery (PLIF surgery)

The posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery is the surgery to fuse two spine levels by a posterior approach which means from behind the lumbar spine. In the posterior approach, the surgeon inserts a spacer between the two spinal bones from the back of the spine. The posterior lumbar interbody fusion surgeon gain access to the patient’s spine by removing the bone (lamina) and then pushing the nerve roots to one side. Then, the disc is removed and the spacer is added.

Indications of Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) surgery

Several conditions that can be treated are-

The treatment procedure of Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion surgery

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion / PLIF surgery usually takes 2-6 hours based on several factors like the surgeon’s experience with the type of surgery, the patient’s overall health, any co-existing health conditions, and the number of spine levels distorted. The surgery takes place under general anesthesia.  

After general anesthesia an incision is made in the middle of the lower back of the spine. The muscles are shifted aside to make space for the surgeon to see the back of the vertebrae. Once the spine is visible, the vertebrae’s lamina is removed to take off the pressure from the nerve roots. This way the surgeon can access the nerve roots compressed by bone spurs, a bulging disc, or ligament thickening. Then the intervertebral disc is removed and the endplates of the spinal bones are scrapped of any cartilages to expose the raw bone. Then a PEEK cage with bone graft is inserted into the space and screws are inserted in the spinal bones. The screws are then connected with one rod on each side of the spine. The operative wound is closed in multiple layers and the dressing is applied.
After the surgery, the patient is advised to stay in the hospital for around 3-4 days and then be allowed to go home but follow proper post-operation instructions. The surgeon will take an x-ray to examine the fusion process the bony fusion starts after around 6 weeks and the bone modeling and fusion becomes strong at around 1 year.

If you have been suffering from any kind of spine problems and your doctor has advised you to undergo a fusion spine surgery, then get a second opinion from another neurosurgeon. 

Dr. Arun Rajeswaran

Consult Dr. Arun with a professional experience of more than 13 years in the field of Neurosurgery

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