Lateral Interbody Fusion Artfully Performed in Houston, Cypress, Tomball & The Woodlands, TX
A lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that may be performed to address a damaged spinal disc in the low back (lumbar spine). The goal is to encourage two or more vertebrae to meld together into a single, solid piece of bone, which can help stabilize the spine, reduce painful motion, decompress pinched spinal nerves and improve scoliosis.
What Does a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion Involve?
After making a small incision on the side of the patient’s waist, a surgeon will use a series of dilation tubes to create a tunnel through the underlying organs, muscles and tissues. The surgeon can then access the spine laterally through the tunnel.
Next, the surgeon will remove the damaged disc, then insert a spacer bone graft in its place to restore the height of the vertebral body and maintain the proper amount of space between the vertebrae immediately above and below it. Essentially, the graft will serve as a bridge between the surrounding vertebrae. If necessary, the surgeon may strengthen the bone graft with a plate and screws on the sides or with pedicle screws on the back (a combined procedure known as instrumentation and fusion). During the healing process, new bone cells may form around the graft, ultimately strengthening it.
Are You a Candidate for a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion?
LLIF may be appropriate if you are diagnosed with:
- Degenerative disc disease in which a damaged disc is allowing painful bone-on-bone contact due to lost height
- Low-grade spondylolisthesis in which an out-of-place vertebra is pressing on a spinal nerve
- Spinal narrowing (stenosis) in which enlarged facet joints or thickened ligaments are causing painful nerve compression
- Mild to moderate scoliosis in which misaligned vertebrae are causing abnormal spinal curvature
Spine surgery is a big step. However, unlike conservative therapy, surgical treatment can address uncomfortable symptoms directly at their source.
If you would like to learn more about lateral lumbar interbody fusion and find out if this procedure may be right for you, you are welcome to contact R. Alexander Mohr, MD. Dr. Mohr is a fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon who practices with Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at several convenient locations in Houston, Cypress, Tomball, and The Woodlands, TX. Request your personal consultation with Dr. Mohr today.