Lumbar Fusion

Lumbar interbody fusion is a technique to fuse bones in your spine together. The bones won’t be able to move, and your pain from some back problems can stop. Lumbar means it is the lower part of your spine. Interbody means that an implant is used. Your surgeon will remove a damaged disk between your vertebrae in your spine. They will replace the disk with a spacer and bone graft material. The spacer holds your vertebrae in position and the bone material helps encourage healing. Sometimes the spacer is held into place with metal screws.

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)

A posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is performed to remove a disc that is the source of back or leg pain and fuse spinal vertebrae with bone graft. It is called a posterior procedure because the spine is approached through an incision on the back. Instrumentation is used to provide space for placing the graft and to help stabilize the spine.

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

As in the posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) procedure, a bone graft is used to fuse the spinal vertebrae after the disc is removed. However, the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) procedure places a single bone graft between the vertebrae from the side, rather than two bone grafts from the rear, as in the PLIF procedure. Inserting the graft from the side where the facet joint has been removed is an effort to avoid moving or damaging nerve roots during the procedure.

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

This surgery is performed to remove a degenerated disc that is frequently the source of back or leg pain. This procedure makes space between the vertebral bodies, relieving pressure and creating more room for spinal nerves to exit. It is called an anterior procedure because the spine is approached from the front. Unlike posterior approaches (from the back), the anterior approach avoids damage to the low back muscles. The removed disc is replaced with implanted bone grafting materials, and adjacent vertebral bodies fuse to provide support.

Lumbar Fusion in Saint Louis, Missouri

At Disc Replacement Center of Saint Louis, we offer a variety of surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for degenerative disc disease, including lumbar fusion. If you would like to learn more about lumbar fusion or would like to schedule an evaluation to find out if you are a candidate, please contact our office at (314) 932-6486.

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