Advanced spine surgeries performed by Dr. Varnavas, spine surgeon

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) is a spine surgery that addresses instability in the back and relieves pain in the low back and pain that radiates in the leg. A Maximum Access Surgery Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MAS 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 difference between a traditional “open” PLIF and a MAS PLIF is the surgical approach. The MAS 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.

Montana spine surgeon, Gus Varnavas MD, spine surgeon second opinion Montana, spine surgeon second opinion Anaconda, second opinion for spine surgery Montana, spine neurosurgeons Montana, Minimally invasive spine surgery Montana, laser spine surgery Montana, herniated disc treatment Montana, artificial disc replacement Montana, treatment for a herniated disc Montana, home remedies for back pain Montana, home remedy for back pain MontanaXLIF® Lateral Access Surgery

The XLIF® (eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion) procedure is a spine surgery in which the surgeon approaches the spine from the side of the patient’s body, rather than the front or back as in traditional spine surgeries. This side (lateral) approach can reduce the risk of injury to muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.

The XLIF technique can provide relief to patients who cannot tolerate traditional open back surgery due to increased risks of longer anesthesia time, greater blood loss, longer hospitalization, and slower recovery. XLIF surgery is a less disruptive alternative for patients who have lived with back or leg pain through years of various failed treatments, including steroid injections, physical therapy, and pain medication.

The XLIF procedure includes the use of a nerve monitoring system which provides surgeons with real-time feedback about nerve health, location, and function during surgery, to reduce the risk of nerve injury.

Benefits of XLIF include:

  • Reduced blood loss. Less-invasive procedure allows for less tissue disruption, resulting in reduced blood loss.
  • Reduced hospital stay. Patients usually require a stay of one to three days in the hospital, compared to three to six days of immobility and hospitalization typical of traditional open approaches.
  • Faster return to normal activity. Many XLIF patients walk the same day they have surgery, as compared to three days later for many traditional lumbar interbody fusion surgeries.

Images and content related to PLIF and XLIF Copyright © 2016 Nuvasive. Used by permission.


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Need an Appointment?

Gus Varnavas, MD — at Community Hospital of Anaconda — specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain and strives to help people return to activity. Request an appointment with Dr. Varnavas in his office in Anaconda, MT.