What is PLIF ?

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) is a procedure for treating lower back pain. The approach in this procedure is with the help of incisions in the back. The surgeons place an incision on your on the skin above the vertebrae to be fixed after confirming the same with the help of “Stryker’s Spine Navigation Machine”.

In this procedure, the intervertebral disk from the space is replaced with a metal or bone spacer and the vertebrae are fused with titanium rods and screws. This spacer maintains the intervertebral height and promotes healing of the bone while the rods and screws aid in stability of the spine.

The incision is closed with stitches and staples.

Risks and Complications

  • Infection
  • Nerve Damage
  • Bleeding or Blood Clots
  • Pain Worsening
  • Spinal Fluid Leakage

After a physical assessment, you shall be medically investigated for your spinal problem. Once investigations and medical assessment are completed your surgery shall be planned. You will be advised to get admitted on the day of surgery.

You and / or your relative has explained the procedure in detail and consent is undertaken. Pre-anaesthesia checkup (PAC) is done. The intravenous line (IV) is given to provide fluids. You are shifted to OT for a procedure. You are given anesthesia before surgery. Post-procedure, you will be moved to Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and once fully awake, you will be moved to the hospital room. You shall also be given a lumbar brace to provide support while your lower back is healing. You shall be mobilized with the help of walking aids.

You are monitored in the room and shall be given appropriate medication including pain relievers. You may have Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pump. You will undergo physical rehabilitation.

You shall continue to be monitored in the room. Physical rehabilitation for your back shall continue. IV medications may be stopped and you may be put on oral medication.

Discharge process is undertaken. You will be appraised about the post-discharge exercises to be done at home and will also be explained about the discharge medication and follow up. You will be discharged in stable condition.

You will be advised to avoid bending at the waist so that there is no strain injury, however, you will be advised to slowly increase your activities and as you feel better, you may exercise as per instructions to improve your strength and mobility.

In the follow-up process, your incisions will be inspected and you will be asked to visit the doctor after 7 days for stitch removal.

After 4-6 weeks, X-ray will be taken to confirm the fusion area is healing properly. After 8-12 weeks, patients will be given the prescription for physical therapy for gentle back exercises.