MIS OLLIF and Revision OLLIF


One of the most innovative procedures available for treating spinal issues, OLLIF stands for oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion. There are two versions of this procedure, MIS OLLIF and revision OLLIF. The latter is for those who have previously had spinal fusion surgery, while the former is the regular version for those who have not had this surgery. MIS stands for minimally invasive keyhole spinal, simply clarifying the procedure.


Treating a Range of Conditions


The MIS OLLIF procedure can be used to treat a wide range of conditions known to contribute to back pain. It can work on spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. In each case, the procedure should provide the patient with pain relief following a very brief recovery period. The common theme is that the correct disc height becomes reestablished, getting rid of chronic and severe back pain.


Little Scarring


As minimally invasive keyhole, you can expect the OLLIF procedure to leave you with very minimal scarring and barely any pain. This is partly due to the ability to perform the procedure via an incision on the side of the patient that is only 1.5 centimeters long. The small incision and other factors also allow the OLLIF procedure to be done on all lumbar levels.


What Happens During MIS-OLLIF


From the incision site, the surgeon uses a small probe to dilate the patient’s muscles, as well as nerves. This provides access to the damaged or diseased disc or the bone components, allowing for removal. During the entire procedure, the surgeon uses intraoperative neuromonitoring in real-time to confirm that no neural structures, nerves, or the spinal cord enter the surgical field.


The surgeon extrudes bone through the tube to separate the disc and decompress the stenosis. The surgeon then evacuates the disc and sets in a specialized bone graft and spinal implant; this takes over the role of the vertebrae. To ensure steadiness and stability, the surgeon inserts pedicle screws, 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.


Doesn’t Require a Hospital Stay


Because of its minimally invasive keyhole nature, the MIS OLLIF can be performed without an extended hospital stay or even 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 dissect the muscles or ligaments, and no bones are removed.


Low Risk and Quick Recovery


All of this contributes to a very fast recovery period and less risk. There is also significantly less blood loss, as much as 80 percent less, further lowering the 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, including going home, 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 setting instead.


A quick recovery is further promoted by the fact that the OLLIF procedure avoids major muscles while maintaining the healthy structures. This leads to less trauma and pain for the back, which helps with the quicker recovery time. Following the procedure, most patients will be able to go back to their normal activities in just a few weeks.


How It Compares to Traditional Options


Compared to MIS OLLIF, traditional fusion surgeries to treat spinal conditions involve significantly more time under the knife and a larger incision. The incisions can be quite large, and the surgeon must cut through muscle tissue in the traditional procedure. There is also more blood loss and bone removal. Traditional fusion surgeries must be done in a hospital operating room 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 MIS OLLIF Works


Although still a relatively new procedure, research has already been done on MIS OLLIF, confirming that it does work. 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.