LIF (Lateral Interbody Fusion)

LIF (Lateral Interbody Fusion)

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The LIF® (Lateral Interbody Fusion) procedure provides relief to patients who cannot tolerate a larger, open back surgery because of the increased risks of longer anaesthesia time, blood loss, hospitalization, and recovery. LIF is a less invasive alternative for patients who have lived with back or leg pain through years of various failed treatments, including steroid injections, physical therapy, and pain medication.

About Lateral Access Spine Surgery

Lateral access spine surgery is a safe and reproducible means of addressing certain spine disorders with an approach from the side of the patient, as opposed to an approach from the back or the front. A lateral approach is made safe with the use of nerve monitoring technology.

This approach does not require dissection or retraction of the sensitive back muscles, bones, ligaments, or nerves. This means LIF allows for more complete disc removal and implant insertion as compared with traditional posterior procedures.

As a result, operating time is reduced, patient blood loss is minimized, and recovery time is significantly shorter. By allowing greater access to the disc space, a larger implant can be used, which indirectly decompresses nerves by restoring disc height.

The LIF Procedure

When performing LIF back surgery, your surgeon will approach your spine from the side of your body. First, you will be positioned on the table, where an X-ray will be taken to help your doctor precisely locate the operative space. One incision will be made on your side, where most of the surgery will be performed. Another incision will be made slightly behind the first, toward your back.

Your skin will be marked at the site where these two small incisions will be made. Your surgeon will use the most advanced instrumentation available to access the spine in a minimally disruptive manner. The next step is disc preparation; this is done by removing the disc tissue, an action which allows the bones to be fused together. Several X-rays will be taken during this stage to ensure the preparation is correct.

Once the disc has been prepared, the surgeon will place a stabilizing implant into the space to restore the disc height and enable the spine to once again support necessary loads. Lastly, a final X-ray will be taken to confirm correct implant placement. In the event that further stabilization is necessary, the surgeon may choose to insert additional screws, rods, or plates into the vertebrae.

The Advantages of a Lateral Approach

The LIF procedure does not require entry through sensitive back muscles, bones, or ligaments. The end result is less operative pain. LIF allows for complete disc removal and implant insertion, compared with approaches from the back. When compared to ALIF, where the surgeon enters from the front, the LIF procedure reduces the risk of vascular injury.

  • Reduced operative time: Traditional procedures can take up to 5 hours; the LIF procedure can be successfully completed in as little as 1 hour, reducing the amount of anaesthesia time.
  • Reduced blood loss and minimal scarring: The less-invasive LIF procedure allows for less tissue disruption, resulting in reduced blood loss.
  • Reduced postoperative pain: The LIF procedure does not require entry through sensitive back muscles, bones, or ligaments.
  • Reduced hospital stay: Patients are typically capable of walking the same day after surgery and require only an overnight stay in the hospital. This is compared to several days of immobility and hospitalization typical of traditional open surgeries.
  • Rapid return to normal activity: For LIF, a patient is typically fully recovered around 6 weeks, compared to 6 months or more.

LIF MAS TLIF
Surgical Time 70-90 mins 2-4 hours
Blood Loss <100 cc 100-200 cc
Patient Recovery (ambulatory) 7-12 hours 12 hours
Hospitalization 23 hours 1-2 days


Proven Results of the Spine Surgery

The NVJJB/M5 System has been used successfully in over 70,000 spinal surgeries. With the minimally invasive LIF® approach, and the safety afforded by this nerve monitoring system, you can experience a faster recovery from back surgery and a quicker return to your normal lifestyle.


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