What is a MIS PLIF procedure?

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) is a surgical procedure that attempts to eliminate instability in the back and pain in the lower back and lower extremities. A Minimally Invasive Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS PLIF) achieves this by using a less disruptive approach to decompress nerve roots and fuse one or more vertebrae together to reduce their motion. The distinct difference between a traditional “open” PLIF and a MIS PLIF is the medialized surgical approach. The MIS PLIF procedure is designed to eliminate the need to retract muscle laterally, therefore requiring a smaller incision than an “open” PLIF. By minimizing the amount of muscle disruption, this procedure is intended to reduce postoperative approach – related muscle pain and enable a faster recovery for the patient.

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What are my treatment options?

Many symptoms can be treated without surgery with methods that involve medication, rest, heat, and physical therapy. It is important that you speak to your physician about the best options for you. If your symptoms do not improve with other methods, your physician may suggest spinal surgery. Surgery is reserved for those who do not gain relief from nonoperative forms of treatment, patients whose symptoms are increasing or worsening, and/or patients that present with a spinal condition which indicates the need for surgery.

Is MIS PLIF right for me?

Your physician might determine a MIS PLIF procedure as the right option for you if you require an intervertebral fusion at any lumbar level between L1 and S1 and if you would benefit from a less disruptive approach. Conversely, your physician may determine that a MIS PLIF procedure is not a good option for you. It is important to discuss all treatment options with your physician.

Are there risks involved?

Keep in mind that all surgical procedures present risks and complications that are important to discuss with your physician prior to your surgery. Listening to your physician’s guidance both before and after surgery will help to ensure the best possible outcomes from your procedure. Some of the most common complications following MIS PLIF surgery include: problems with anesthesia, infection, nerve damage, problems with the graft or hardware, and ongoing pain. This is not intended to be a complete list of the possible complications.

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