OLLIF – Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion


One of the most innovative procedures available for treating spinal issues, OLLIF stands for oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion. The OLLIF has been a revolutionary advancement in minimally invasive spine surgery with several Peer Reviewed studies showing its effectiveness, safety and improved outcomes compared to alternatives.


Treating a Range of Conditions


The MIS OLLIF procedure can be used to treat a wide range of conditions known to contribute to back and leg pain. It works well for spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. The procedure provides the patient with excellent pain relief following a very brief recovery period.


Minimal Scarring


As a minimally invasive procedure, you can expect the OLLIF procedure to leave you with minimal scarring and a faster recovery compared with an open surgery. This is partly due to the ability to perform the procedure through a tiny keyhole size incision and through indirect visualization.


What Happens During the OLLIF


From the incision site, the surgeon uses a small probe to dilate the patient’s muscles. With an open procedure, the surgeon would simply cut through muscle leading to substantial pain. But the OLLIF simply separates muscle layers temporarily, allowing them to remain viable afterwards. This provides access to the damaged or diseased disc or the bone components, allowing for removal.

The OLLIF surgeon will use two angles of real time x-ray (fluoroscopy) to ensure accurate placement of the surgical instruments throughout the procedure. In addition the surgeon uses intraoperative neuromonitoring in real-time to confirm that nerve structures are outside the surgery area.


The surgeon removes necessary bone and disc to free up nerve roots and to make room for the fusion cage between the vertebrae. The surgeon then places the spinal implant with bone graft in it to then weld together the vertebrae and relieve one’s pain.


To ensure steadiness and stability, the surgeon will also place screws in the back of the spine, along with rods that hold together the spine. Finally, the surgeon seals up the small incision and covers it with a bandage. During recovery, the body forms a solid bridge made up of new bone mass as the implant fuses with the adjoining vertebrae.


Often Doesn’t Require a Hospital Stay


Because of its minimally invasive nature, the OLLIF is performed without an extended hospital stay and often without any overnight stay. The procedure itself can take as little as 45 minutes, compared to the hours spent on traditional spinal fusion procedures. In general, an OLLIF procedure takes about half the time or less as a comparable TLIF (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) surgery would. There is no need to cut through the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine, so recovery is faster.


Low Risk and Quick Recovery


The OLLIF results in a very fast recovery period and in over 800 procedures to date a very safe procedure. The procedure on average results in 90 percent less blood loss compared to an open procedure, further lowering one’s risk.


In fact, most patients who have an OLLIF procedure are ready to return to work in just a few days. They are frequently up and walking around within several hours. Patients also appreciate the convenience of the OLLIF procedure, as it does not need to be done in the hospital; it can be done comfortably in an outpatient surgery center instead.



How It Compares to Traditional Options


Compared to the OLLIF, traditional fusion surgeries to treat spinal conditions involve significantly more time in the operating room and a larger incision. For an open transforaminal lumbar fusion procedure, the surgeon must cut through significant muscle tissue with a much longer incision than the OLLIF’s keyhole length. There is also more blood loss and bone removal.


Traditional fusion surgeries are performed in a hospital operating room, take a lot longer to perform, and typically require a hospital day of at least a few days. As such, they can also be much more expensive. The MIS OLLIF procedure improves on all of these things, reducing pain and recovery time while making the process simpler for both the patient and the surgeon.


Research Confirms the OLLIF Works


Several peer reviewed research studies have already been published on the OLLIF, confirming that it is in fact effective, safe and much less costly than open procedures. Researchers looked at those who had undergone the OLLIF procedure to treat degenerative spinal disease, assessing them six months following surgery. Every patient had experienced an improvement in pain, and none of them required revision surgery.


Read more about the published studies HERE. If you or a loved one would like to consider the OLLIF for pain relief, Inspired Spine is offering a complimentary imaging study review. Contact us HERE today!