A posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is a surgical procedure that removes any damaged disc material found in the spine, and inserting a bone graft between two vertebrae to provide stability to the spine and relief from pain. Posterior means that this surgical method approaches the spine from the back of the body. Lumbar refers to the lower section of the patients spine.
The Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion can be a minimally invasive procedure, and is often less invasive than other spinal fusion procedures.
If you are experiencing instability in the lumbar region of the spine, degenerative disc disease, stenosis, or spondylolisthesis, you should consult with their doctor about the PLIF procedure if conservative treatments do not provide relief.
If you are suffering from back pain, numbness in the lower back or legs, or sciatica, you might also talk with your doctor about the procedure. You can make an appointment with Dr. Joseph Weinstein and the Comprehensive Orthopedic and Spine Care team to discuss any questions that you might have.
In a posterior lumbar interbody fusion procedure, Dr. Joseph Weinstein is able to use small incisions and less intrusive techniques than in an open spinal surgery.
In a PLIF, an incision is made in the lower back, over the targeted area of the spinal vertebrae. The exterior roof of the spine, or lamina, is removed, along with any vertebral disc material.
A bone graft and screws are then inserted to allow for fusion of the spinal bone.
When more conservative treatments like medication and physical therapy are not enough to help provide stability to the spinal column or relief from back pain, Comprehensive Orthopedic and Spine Care might recommend a posterior lumbar interbody fusion procedure.
Patients can expect to spend 1-2 days in the hospital for the procedure. Pain medication is administered following the surgery, along with physical therapy to help the patient return to their normal daily activities. Many of our patients symptoms should be alleviated almost immediately after the procedure, and patients typically see symptoms improving over time.
Strenuous activity like heavy lifting is to be avoided in the four to six weeks following the procedure. Each patient's case will vary, so consult your surgeon about your own surgery recovery plan.
All surgery carries some amount of risk, including infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve damage, bowel and bladder complications. You should talk with your doctor about potential risks for a PLIF procedure.