Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)
Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgery consists basically of using bone graft (a surgical procedure which replaces missing bone) to elicit a response from the body that will cause the bone between two vertebrae to grow. This is done with the objective of stopping motion between those two bone segments.
Prior to the surgery, the surgeon will require an MRI and CAT scan in order to determine the size of the material which will be used. An incision is made and spinal muscles separated in order to allow access to the spine. The surgeon will remove any obstacle to the nerves. The disc which is affected is now removed, allowing the surgeon to commence adding the bone graft. allograft, or cage.
The bone graft will allow for fusion, which is basically causing two bones to grow together into one solid bone. Fusion cages are basically screws which are filled with bone graft. They assist with the fusion in that they help the spine heal together firmly.
Chapman Neurosurgical Spine Institute Serving Orange County
Vertebral bodies are basically large pieces of bone which comprise the front section of each vertebra. The vertebral disc is essentially cushions between the vertebral bodies. Vertebral bodies surround and anchor the nerves which run up and down your spine. The spinal nerves “exit” through holes in the spinal vertebrae called neural foramen.
In many cases, the intervertebral discs become worn down with age. This can also be affected by genetics and degeneration catalysts such as smoking. If the space between the vertebrae decreases, the nerves can become pinched. This can cause numbness, pain and weakness. Fusion may be required to eliminate the pain caused by the disc.
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