Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)

PLIF is gen­er­al­ly used to treat back or leg pain caused by degen­er­a­tive disc dis­ease. The sur­geon will sta­bi­lize the spine by fus­ing ver­te­brae togeth­er with bone graft mate­r­i­al. The pro­ce­dure is per­formed through a three to six inch inci­sion in the back. Parts of the ver­te­bral bone need to be removed to get access to the disc. The dam­aged disc is par­tial­ly removed, some of the disc wall is left behind to help con­tain the bone graft mate­r­i­al. Bone grafts are placed in the emp­ty disc space, realign­ing the ver­te­bral bones, this also lifts pres­sure from pinched nerve roots. The area may also be filled with morselized bone. The sur­geon may implant a series of screws and rods to the back of the spine for addi­tion­al sup­port. Bone graft is also placed along the sides of the spine. The morselized bone graft will grow through and around the implants, form­ing a bone bridge that con­nects the ver­te­bral bod­ies above and below. This sol­id bone bridge is called a fusion.