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PLIF

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Posterior lumbar interbody fusions (PLIF) are designed to increase stability in the spine and remove pressure from spinal nerves. The procedure takes place in the lower back, and the physician enters the problem area from the posterior (or back) of the spine. Posterior lumbar interbody fusions (PLIF) address a variety of serious back problems, including degenerative disc disease, significant spinal deformity or instability, spondylolisthesis, and prior, unsuccessful spinal fusion procedures.

Benefits of PLIF

A PLIF procedure restores stability lost to one of the several degenerative conditions. Typically, part or all of a damaged disc will be removed, and the resulting gap will be filled with material called a bone graft. This bone graft can withstand pressure and will naturally fuse bone material, recreating the strength that had been lost. Since PLIF requires only a single incision, it can minimize healing time and risk of infection. Studies have shown that the procedure is highly successful in over 90% of cases, and many patients are able to return to normal activities their pain greatly reduced or completely eradicated.

Compared to traditional, “open” surgeries, which require long incisions, the minimally invasive approach used by North American Spine physicians results in less surgical trauma, less bone and tissue damage, and results in fewer complications and a reduced recovery period. Note: we do see patients whose previous spine surgeries are no longer providing them the relief they need.

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Details of the PLIF

During a PLIF procedure, your physician will make a small incision in your lower back. Part or all of a damaged disc will be removed, and the resulting gap will be filled with material called a bone graft. This bone graft can withstand pressure and will naturally fuse bone material, recreating the strength and stability of a healthy spine. Specialized surgical hardware is used the further stabilize the spine.

Preparing for the PLIF

Before pursuing a PLIF, prospective patients should have tried conservative methods, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and spinal injections. If those methods have not produced meaningful relief, you may be a candidate for a North American Spine procedure.

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PLIF Recovery

PLIF procedures are typically inpatient procedures, meaning patients will stay in the surgery center for 1-3 days. Recovery, however, is typically much shorter than the recovery period for open spine surgery. Typically, patients will be walking the same day of surgery and performing light activity within a few weeks. More in-depth, customized recovery guidelines will be provided by your North American Spine physician. The vast majority of patients report a significant and lasting reduction-or the complete eradication-of their pre-op pain.

While every surgery carries some risk of injury or infection, complications are rare. Your physician will counsel you on these risks prior to the procedure.

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Testimonial

Jerry M.

Condition: Bulging Disc

Procedure: PLIF

“I am completely pain free and back at work. I am back to living a normal active life.”

"I spent 2 months using traction, TENS Unit, chiropractic care and shots."

Connect With A Patient

Some of our former patients have been kind enough to offer to speak with back and neck pain sufferers who are looking into treatment options. We encourage you to take them up on it! After we determine a treatment plan, we’ll connect you with a past patient who had a similar condition and procedure.

Connect with a Patient

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