Understanding the advantages of minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion

Minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion is an approach to this form of spine surgery that uses muscle-sparing techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure. The goal of this procedure is to relieve the discomfort caused by spinal cord or nerve root compression in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. This is achieved by removing portions of bone and/or disc material that are pressing against a nerve root and causing pain and symptoms. The procedure also involves stabilizing the affected area with bone grafts and the minimal use of screws and rods to fuse the vertebral segment together.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief since 2005. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform a lateral lumbar interbody fusion as a minimally invasive stabilization procedure at our state-of-the-art outpatient centers across the United States. You can contact our dedicated team with any questions, or for more information about becoming a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.

Approaches to lateral lumbar interbody fusion surgery

Both minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion and traditional open back approaches to this procedure require the removal of spinal anatomy that is contributing to spinal cord or nerve root compression in the lumbar region.

Traditional open spine fusion surgery requires a large incision and the disruption of muscles and other soft tissue so that a surgeon can access the affected area. Once tissue is removed to decompress nerve roots, bone grafts and hardware are inserted to fuse the affected vertebrae. Because the procedure is highly invasive, there is a risk for infection, and recovery can be long and difficult.

Conversely, minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion at Laser Spine Institute has the following advantages compared to open spine surgery:

  • A much smaller incision. The required incision is very small, which minimizes scarring and the risk for infection, and is made on a patient’s left or right side. Small surgical tools are threaded through this incision to access the affected area.
  • Minimal disruption of soft tissue. Muscles and other soft tissue are gently pushed aside instead of being disrupted, which can significantly reduce the risk for blood loss and greatly decrease a patient’s recovery time.
  • Performed on an outpatient basis. This means no hospitalization is required and the recovery period is faster^ with less risk of complication than is associated with traditional open spine surgery.

Reach out to Laser Spine Institute

If you and your doctor have decided that conservative treatment options for your neck or back pain have been exhausted and you are recommended to undergo traditional open spine surgery such as lateral lumbar interbody fusion, you should be aware of the full range of options. Our team will be glad to help you receive a no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.