Like other MIS (minimally invasive keyhole spine) procedures, the MIS DLIF requires a significantly shorter recovery time and offers less risk compared to traditional, invasive methods. This procedure is the result of the latest advances in spinal fusion and stands for direct lateral interbody fusion. This is one of several procedures developed by Inspired Spine that has undergone thorough testing to prove its results and innovation. This procedure is among the top options for those in search of a minimally invasive keyhole, effective, and safe procedure for spinal fusion.
How MIS DLIF Compares to Traditional Approaches
Before the development of MIS DLIF, surgeons would only perform a procedure known as XLIF, the lateral lumbar interbody fusion. This procedure is highly effective but has limitations. It can be extremely challenging to perform on the lowest portions of the lumbar spine since the pelvis blocks the surgical instruments. It is also hard to perform on the upper lumbar area due to the ribs getting in the way. As an added obstacle, the patient needs to be repositioned between placing the interbody fusion cage and adding the supplemental screws. Additionally, XLIF is an open procedure, requiring a large incision and direct visualization. To achieve that visualization, the surgeon must disrupt the muscles and connective tissue, which increases recovery time, including in the hospital.
The MIS DLIF improves on all of these negatives while still maintaining the benefits of a traditional XLIF. While the XLIF is an invasive procedure that requires a large incision and affects numerous components of the body not being operated on, MIS DLIF is minimally invasive keyhole in every definition of the term. Instead of relying on direct visualization, MIS DLIF is performed with help of two C-arms, which are X-ray machines. This prevents the need for a large incision as well as the requirement of moving connective tissues and muscles aside.
Unlike with XLIF, the surgeon does not have to remove any spinal joints during MIS DLIF, further decreasing the recovery time and invasiveness of the procedure. There is also no problem performing it on the areas posing problems with XLIF (the lower lumbar spine and L5–S1) since visualization is via C-arms, not direct.
Very Fast Recovery Time
For patients, one of the greatest benefits of MIS DLIF over traditional options, like XLIF, is the decreased recovery time. Between the smaller incision, lack of removal of spinal joints, and lack of need to move surrounding muscles and connective tissues, there are simply fewer things to recover from. While traditional procedures always require a hospital stay of some sort, this is not the case with MIS DLIF. There is also less bleeding due to the minimally invasive keyhole nature of the procedure, reducing the risk. In fact, in the pilot study of nine patients, half went home on the same day as their procedure, within between two and four hours. The other half went home the morning after. Considering most spinal fusion surgeries require at least several days in the hospital, this is groundbreaking.
Due to the need for direct visualization in traditional fusion surgeries, surgeons must create a reasonably sized incision. Because of the advanced techniques involved in MIS DLIF, only a lateral incision measuring 2 centimeters is necessary. This not only reduces the risk of scarring following the procedure but also helps contribute to the faster recovery time and less pain that patients feel.
How Long It Takes
Another advantage of the MIS DLIF compared to traditional procedures is the reduced amount of time it takes to complete. On one level, the average time in the initial study needed to complete the procedure was just 44 minutes, increasing to 85 minutes in the case of two levels.
Minimal Blood Less and Fewer Complications
In the MIS-DLIF initial study to confirm its results, the blood loss of patients was truly minimal. Patients with one level only had an average of 54 ml blood loss, with two-level patients losing 112 ml. By comparison, multiple studies have shown an average of at least several hundred milliliters of blood loss, if not at least 500 ml, for XLIF surgeries.
Safe and Effective
The MIS DLIF procedure might be among the newest spinal surgical techniques available, but it has already proven to be safe and effective, and it is slowly spreading in use. Based on a 10-point sliding scale for pain, patients reported a decrease of an impressive 4.5 points three months after surgery. With such minimal risks and strong results, the MIS DLIF is one of the top choices for those who prefer a quick recovery time and reduced complications.