Minimally invasive stabilization surgery for a collapsed disc — exploring lateral lumbar interbody fusion

By Michael Perry, M.D.

Minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute is an outpatient approach to spinal fusion that can be used to treat conditions including a collapsed disc in the lumbar (lower) spine.

Over many years, the soft, elastic discs that sit in between vertebrae can degenerate and lose height. When this occurs, vertebrae move closer together and can press upon nerve roots that exit in between the vertebrae. In many cases the resulting symptoms can be treated with conservative therapies to relieve pain and improve range of motion. These treatments include physical therapy, yoga and stretches, lifestyle changes, chiropractic care, pain medication and cortisone injections.

In more severe cases that do not respond to nonsurgical methods, patients may be recommended to undergo fusion surgery to remove the damaged disc and stabilize the spine. The goal is to give affected nerves the space they need to function properly and provide lasting relief of symptoms.

Treating collapsed discs with minimally invasive stabilization

Unlike highly invasive traditional open spine fusion that requires a large muscle-tearing incision in the lower back and disruption of muscles, lateral lumbar interbody fusion at Laser Spine Institute is performed through a small incision in the side of the body in order to avoid the tearing and cutting of muscles. Through this small incision, the collapsed disc is removed, the surrounding vertebrae are repositioned so that nerve structures are no longer compressed and an implant is inserted into the disc space. The remaining disc space is packed with bone graft material and small screws and rods are inserted to secure the affected vertebrae in place.

Due to the minimally invasive approach taken, this procedure typically allows patients to experience a shorter recovery time^ compared to the rehabilitation associated with open spine surgery. Additionally, the lateral lumbar interbody fusion at Laser Spine Institute offers lower risk of infection and complications like failed back surgery syndrome.

Laser Spine Institute

Typically, any form of spine surgery, especially a fusion procedure, is reserved as a last-resort treatment for patients whose symptoms do not improve with several weeks or months of conservative (nonsurgical) treatments. If you have been recommended for spinal fusion but have concerns about the procedure you are being asked to undergo, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today. We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and we’ve helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain.

Our caring and dedicated team can help you receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.