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Pain Management Procedures
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OLLIF - Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion
OLLIF helps patients relieve pain while preserving motion. It’s a surgical procedure for spinal conditions with minimum cutting. It is often chosen instead of more invasive options.
OLLIF is recommended to treat abnormal spine curvature, fractured vertebrae, bulging discs, spine instability and spondylolisthesis or slipping out of vertebra.
In this article, we’ll cover the conditions that are treated with this type of surgery, some risks of the OLLIF procedure, recovery period specifics and more. Remember to consult a doctor if you experience any discomfort in your back. Getting a proper diagnosis and choosing the correct treatment is key to easing the pain you feel in the back.
What is OLLIF?
OLLIF stands for oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion and is the angle taken when the surgeon gains access to the spine from a posterolateral view (through the back and just to the side of the vertebrae) approach.
Such a procedure is recommended for those who didn’t respond to conservative treatment. Usually, these patients suffer from degenerative disc disease, disc herniations, stenosis, spondylolisthesis and scoliosis.
OLLIF can be used to treat these conditions:
- Bulging Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Disc Tear
- Failed Back & Neck Surgery
- Facet Joint Syndrome
- Foraminal Stenosis
Oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in the side of your abdomen and separates soft tissues to reach the lumbar spine. Later, the surgeon removes the damaged vertebral bone or intervertebral disc. Instead of the damaged tissue, some bone graft or a suitable spacer is inserted to allow bones to fuse. After this, soft tissue is placed back, and the incision is closed.
The recovery is quite fast, as patients only need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days and can return to work in about a month. After the procedure, patients get prescribed pain medications and a brace to support their back.
To speed up the healing process, treatment options can be combined, and physical therapy can be added to pain medications. Such therapy can help restore movement and strength after the procedure.
Oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion is associated with fewer risks compared to other surgery options. But still, there are some to consider before choosing this treatment option.
Some damage to soft tissue or nerves can be a risk of this type of surgery. It is especially the case when this procedure needs to be converted into an open procedure, which has more complications and risks.
A great risk is a failure of the procedure, it is the case when the procedure was performed but it didn’t provide enough relief.
Surely, there are some risks of the procedure, but the benefits list is way longer.
The most obvious one is that OLLIF takes less time than some other surgeries and therefore needs less anesthesia. A shorter surgery time also means a reduced chance of blood clots.
The risks of nerve damage and bleeding are much lower.
As the invasion is rather small, a patient can return home quicker, there’s no need for excess muscle or soft tissue cutting, moreover, the chance of wound infection is lower.
The procedure itself doesn’t involve neuromonitoring to assess nerve trauma, radiation exposure, or bone removal.
Oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion is associated with some complications, just as any other surgery. OLLIF can end up in bleeding, infection, nerve damage, and some bowel and bladder troubles.
But while more invasive procedures involve loss of back strength, OLLIF is performed without major muscle mass loss, so it preserves the strength of the back.