Fusion for spondylolisthesis
LLIF — a minimally invasive spinal stabilization procedure for spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis, or vertebral slippage, is one of several spine conditions that can be treated using lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF). LLIF is a minimally invasive stabilization procedure with the same goals as a traditional open back fusion. For patients with spondylolisthesis, those goals are to:
- Move the displaced vertebra back into its proper position
- Relieve any nerve compression in the area
- Stabilize the affected vertebral segment
The primary difference is that LLIF is not a highly invasive procedure like a traditional open spinal fusion.
Differences between LLIF and open back spinal fusion
Because LLIF is a minimally invasive spinal fusion procedure, it can be performed on an outpatient basis. That is one of the major differences between LLIF and open back surgery — an overnight hospital stay can be avoided. In addition, LLIF is less invasive than a traditional open back fusion in the following ways:
- The incision is small
- It is less disruptive to muscle tissue
- There is less risk of infection than hospital-based procedures
- There is less risk of the development of scar tissue
- There is reduced postoperative pain and a quicker period of recovery^
There are still important postoperative instructions for patients who undergo LLIF, including the amount of physical activity and lifting that can be performed in the weeks following a spinal fusion procedure. However, these limitations are generally far less restrictive and have a shorter duration than with traditional open back surgery.
Who is a candidate for LLIF for spondylolisthesis?
If you have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis and are dealing with painful symptoms, the first step in treatment is usually a round of conservative options, like physical therapy. However, if weeks or months of treatment do not bring an improvement in comfort or mobility, you may start to consider surgical options like a spinal fusion.
Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, including procedures like LLIF, and we offer a streamlined experience that puts the patient at the center. To learn more and find out if you may be a candidate for LLIF or another minimally invasive procedure at Laser Spine Institute, contact our Care Team today for a no-cost MRI review.*