The PLIF Experts

A Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) increases stability in the spine and removes pressure from spinal nerves.

 

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What is a PLIF?

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) procedure restores stability lost to one of the several degenerative conditions. 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.

PLIF Procedure Essentials

Patient Satisfaction. Very High

Does It Require an Overnight Stay? Sometimes. It depends on a few factors

Incision Size. Less than an inch

Recovery Details. Walking the day of the surgery, back to work or play in a couple weeks to a couple months

Physicians Who Perform PLIF

North American Spine partner physicians are board-certified, minimally invasive specialists in PLIF and other related procedures. They are among the best in the field, and many have served as teachers of the next generation of minimally invasive specialists.

 

Unlike at most practices, North American Spine partner physicians may collaborate on a complex procedure to ensure that all the required skill and knowledge is brought to the case. But perhaps the most telling fact of all is this: 97% of patients say they would recommend their doctor to a friend.

 

 

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Benefits of the 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.

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.

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.