Interlaminar Lumbar Instrumented Fusion, ILIF, is typically used to treat back pain caused by spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.
During the ILIF procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision in the lower back and an opening is created through the ligaments. This allows access to the spinous processes (the bone you can feel when you run your hand down your spine). The damaged portion of the disc is removed and allograft bone is placed in the empty space. This helps protect the spinal cord and nerves. A metal implant is inserted to stabilize the spine and secure the spinous processes until the fusion takes place. Morsellated bone is used together with the allograft to fuse the vertebra above and below.
Advantages of using the ILIF procedure over traditional spine surgery can mean a smaller incision, less blood loss, less post-operative pain and quicker return to activity. This procedure is generally performed in an outpatient setting or 23 hour stay.
Illustration above shows the completed ILIF procedure. Image ©NuVasive, used with permission
The ILIF procedure involves a minimally disruptive decompression procedure called a laminotomy, which involves temporary distraction (opening up) of the space between the spinous processes, and careful removal of only small sections of bone to release the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Caption and Image ©NuVasive, used with permission
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