How is Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion (OLIF) Performed?
Lateral spine fusion surgery, or OLIF, is performed under general anesthesia. Unlike traditional lumbar surgery which approaches through the pelvic bone, the lateral approach avoids impacting muscles, ligaments and bone. An incision is made in the side of the patient’s abdomen and soft tissues are carefully separated to reach the lumbar spine. No major muscles are cut which preserves muscle strength. The soft tissue, nerves and muscles are carefully moved and separated so that, through the oblique, all lumbar vertebrae are reached. The cause of symptoms is then treated.
Damaged vertebral bone, or intervertebral disc, can be partially or totally removed. Bone graft or a spacer can be placed to maintain the intervertebral space and allow the bones to fuse. Screws, rods and plates may be used for added support. The soft tissues are carefully repositioned and the incision closed.