Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) is a spinal fusion surgury to fuse the disc space of the spine by entering from the back of the body. The damaged disc material is removed from the disc space and replaced with the bone graft and anterior interbody cages.
As in any spinal fusion, the bone grows from vertebral body to vertebral body to stop the motion at the segment causing pain. PLIF has the advantage that it provides anterior fusion of the disc space without having a second incision as would be necessary with an anterior/posterior spine fusion surgery. Consult a pain management specialist if you have these symptoms.
The Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) procedure has a number of advantages over other forms of stabilization / fusion surgery:
- Intervertebral distraction (separation) enables the restoration of three dimensional spinal alignment / balance and indirect neurological decompression of the foraminae (nerve passageways).
- The interbody implants / graft subsequently maintain the disc space height and spinal alignment.
- The surface area for bone graft healing is maximized
What Conditions Benefit from a PLIF
The main reason to do perform a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) surgery is in the stabilization and fusion of the spine following correction of an adult spinal deformity. Degenerative deformity is a common and often missed cause of neurological compression. Foraminal stenosis that is associated with disc space narrowing, spondylolisthesis (vertebra slips forward), retrolisthesis (vertebra slips backward) or scoliosis may be difficult to relieve without correction of the associated deformity.