PLIF: Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

PLIF is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The surgeon will stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material.


In preparation for the procedure, you are anesthetized. You are positioned face down. The surgeon makes an incision in your lower back. The surgeon removes a portion of bone, called the "lamina," from the rear of one of your vertebrae. This creates a window. It allows access to your damaged disc.

The surgeon carefully clears away your damaged disc material. A portion of the disc wall is left in place. It will help contain the graft material.

The surgeon spreads the upper and lower vertebrae. This properly aligns the spine. It can relieve pressure on compressed nerve roots. Implants are placed between the vertebrae to hold them in the proper position. Bone graft material is packed into the space around the implants.

The surgeon may implant a series of screws and rods at the rear of your spine. These help lock the vertebrae together. Bone graft is placed along these rods and screws. As your spine heals, the graft material in your spine will grow to create a permanent fusion between your vertebrae.

When the PLIF procedure is complete, your incision is closed. Your surgeon will provide instructions to aid your recovery.

Learn more about the Spine Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics.

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