Lateral lumbar interbody fusion

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion is a procedure in which the surgeon accesses an affected vertebra in the lumbar (lower) spine through the side of the body rather than through the abdomen or the back. While this may seem like a more invasive approach to the spine, the lateral entrance allows the surgeon to avoid disrupting the large muscles surrounding the lumbar spine.

The purpose of lateral lumbar interbody fusion is to remove a damaged disc in the spine and create stability around the empty disc space. There are several types of lumbar interbody fusions, such as posterior and anterior. The difference is simply the way in which the spine is approached. The type of lumbar interbody fusion necessary for your condition will be determined by factors such as the exact location of your condition and your personal medical history. You can discuss the options with your surgeon during your initial consultation.

What to expect during a lateral lumbar interbody fusion

This operation is considered less invasive because the incision is generally much smaller than the 5-inch or longer incisions typically used in traditional open back surgery. Here is a step-by-step look at the process of lateral lumbar interbody fusion:

  • Two small incisions are made on the patient’s side; one incision is for a probe and the other is to guide the surgical tools.
  • The probe is inserted and used to detect compressed nerve roots and to avoid healthy nerves.
  • The damaged portion of the disc is removed through the incision.
  • The bone graft is inserted into the empty disc space, either in the form of a bone block or within a metal cage implant.
  • Over time, the bone graft grows and creates a bridge between the vertebrae, helping to ensure stability.

Minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and we’ve helped thousands of patients find relief at our state-of-the-art facilities across the United States. Our board-certified surgeons+ specialize exclusively in spine procedures and we perform our minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion on an outpatient basis through the use of muscle-sparing techniques. Our passion for patient-centered care has helped us achieve a patient satisfaction score of 98 across all of our locations.^ For more information about the advantages of Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive lumbar fusions, contact today.

We’ll be happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.