Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion and Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion
A posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is a surgical technique that involves correction of the spinal problems at the base of the spine by placing bone graft between two vertebrae.
Minimally invasive surgical techniques may be employed to perform the procedure.
PLIF is recommended when the non-surgical treatment measures such as rest, physical therapy or medications fail to reduce the symptoms (pain, numbness, and weakness).
Some of the common indications are:
- Spinal instability
- Degenerative disc disorder of lumbar spine (pain due to damaged disc)
- Spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra on another)
- Spinal stenosis
In this procedure the surgeon makes a small incision in the lower back over the vertebrae to be treated. The size of the incision depends on the bone graft to be used. The surgeon dilates the surrounding muscles of the spine to access the section of the spine to be stabilized. The lamina/roof of the vertebrae is removed to visualize the nerve roots. The facet joints that are directly over the nerve roots are trimmed to provide the nerve roots with more space.
To place the bone graft, the nerve roots are shifted to one side and disc material is removed from the front (anterior aspect) of the spine. Now the bone graft is implemented into the disc space. Screws and rods are used to stabilize the spine for better healing and fusion. After the completion of the procedure, the incision is closed leaving behind a minimal scar.
The main goal of the procedure is to reestablish the spinal stability.
This minimally invasive procedure typically permits most of the patients to be discharged the day after surgery but some patients may require a longer hospitalization. Most of the patients observe immediate improvement of some or all of their symptoms but sometimes the improvement of the symptoms may be gradual.
Contribution of a positive approach, realistic expectations and compliance with your doctor’s post-surgical instructions help bring a satisfactory outcome of the surgical procedure. Most patients can resume their regular activities within several weeks.
Risks and complications:
The complications associated with PLIF surgery include infection, nerve damage, blood clots or blood loss, bowel and bladder problems and problems associated with anesthesia. The primary risk of spinal fusion surgery is failure of fusion of vertebral bone and bone graft which may require an additional surgery.
Talk to your surgeon if you have concerns regarding PLIF procedure.
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Houston Back and Spine Specialists
Advanced Orthopedics and sports medicine has Board Certified/Eligible physicians who are thoroughly educated in the latest treatment techniques both surgical and conservative. The spine surgeons practice conservatively utilizing minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. Should surgery be required, options range from out-patient spinal surgery to major spinal reconstruction and management of scoliosis.
Contact us today to Schedule an Appointment or call us at 281-955-2650 to learn more about our Back and Spine Treatment options.
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What Our Patients Are Saying
Overall excellent experience with Dr Cubbage and his outstanding staff. I flew in overseas for a 2nd opinion and was accommodated by his office. My situation was not good and had lower lumbar surgery (METRx discectomy) for a herniated disc. I walked out after surgery and I am on my way to a quick recovery. I have a very small incision and was very well looked after. Thank you Dr Cubbage! Arrived in Houston in a wheelchair and will fly back overseas 10 days after surgery on my own 2 feet
Awesome! Highly recommend Dr.Matthew Cubbage . He is the best of the best Orthopedic Surgeon with special healing hands any patient will experience. He is highly knowledgeable, caring and confident since everything that he explained to me that would happen and what to expect is very accurate. Dr. Matthew Cubbage care and people skills are clearly seen and felt also by his team he selected-Tim and Karen. Courteous and promptly responds on you calls before and throughout your recovery. Reborn.
Each procedure done by Dr. Patel has been an improvement. Very pleased.
Dr. Patel has been a great Doctor for me. When I was referred to after discussion we decided to do injections in my back. The first two did not work so did two more in a different section of my back. These injections worked great. I’m now able to sleep at night and the numbness in my foot is almost gone. The tingling in my foot & leg is gone and I am very happy about that. I am extremely happy that Dr. Patel is my Doctor. She has been a good listener when I tell her where I hurt and talks to me about what she feels should be done. The final decision is always mine.
On Nov. 22, 2017, I had a spinal injection in my lower back and it was an instant miracle in my life! For the first time in 4 intolerable months of pain, I was finally pain free, and I am now getting a second chance to live again! I am so grateful to Dr. Patel for my new life, and to God for guiding me to her! Thank you so very much Dr. Patel – you are God’s gift to me, thank you for being so awesome at what you do.
Dr. Patel is one of the best Doctors I have ever had. She is pretty good at her job. She makes it plain and simple. She is also very thoughtful. I was very glad to have met her. In other words she is pretty good.
The surgery done by Dr. S. Patel (Actually injections) & the mild medications she has prescribed has surely made my lower back -hip-leg less painful. I have complete confidence in her medical judgement & advice. She will administer second injection in June.
Dr. Patel is a very good Pain Management Doctor. She is one of my favorite doctors.
Dr. Patel has been great at my pain relief. She doesn’t force me to take any meds I don’t want, or injections. She will give me the injection I want when I need it. Great friendly Doctor.
Thank you for the opportunity to express how pleased I am with the excellent care of Stacy A. Bacon, M.D. I have confidence in her ability to care for me as she successfully partially replaced a broken hip 10 years ago, 2007. I also want to compliment Cheryl who set up the appointment. She represents Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine very well.