OLLIF – Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion
One of the most innovative procedures available for treating low back pain conditions, OLLIF stands for oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion. The OLLIF is one of Inspired Spine’s signature keyhole surgical techniques – a revolutionary advancement in minimally invasive spine surgery that our surgeons have perfected with years of research and practice.
For patients considering lumbar fusion, the OLLIF offers significant advantages in the ease and speed of recovery. And unlike most other spinal fusion approaches, the OLLIF procedure can be used to effectively treat all lumbar levels of the spine.
Treating a Range of Conditions
The 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.
Since the OLLIF Procedure is performed via a small keyhole portal (smaller than the diameter of a dime) on the patient’s side, the surgeon doesn’t have to move, remove, dissect or alter major muscles, healthy bone structures, and nerve bundles.
As a result of our minimally invasive keyhole approach, you can expect less scarring, less pain from the operation and a faster recovery compared with open surgery.
Learn more about the benefits of Keyhole surgery.
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 and damage to healthy tissue. But the OLLIF only 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 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.
To learn more about the procedure
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. Patients are frequently up and walking around within several hours and many go home the same day as surgery. In fact, the OLLIF does not need to be done in a hospital at all; it can be performed routinely in an outpatient surgery center instead.
Blood loss is minimal, because of the very small incision and the risk of complications is significantly lower than that of traditional spinal fusions.1
But what most patients will appreciate is the speed of their recovery. Many can return to work and normal activities in a couple of weeks, as opposed to the lengthy and demanding rehabilitation process required with open fusions.
Because of its short operating time, minimum rehab requirements, and high-safety profile, the OLLIF is often recommended for patients who have been denied surgery because of certain risk factors, such as age, obesity, or deformity.
This is good news for elderly or frail patients with Adult Degenerative Scolosis, for instance.2 Because several levels of the spine can be accessed from a single OLLIF keyhole, providing live-changing pain relief.
How OLLIF 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 (TLIF), the surgeon must cut through significant muscle tissue with a much longer incision than the OLLIF’s ½-inch keyhole portal. There is also more blood loss and bone removal.
Traditional fusion surgeries are performed in a hospital operating room, take a lot longer, and typically require a hospital day of at least a few days. They can also make it much harder for patients to get back to normal life and activities with months of demanding rehab to compensate for damaged back muscles.
The OLLIF procedure is the only truly minimally invasive alternative for lumbar fusion with clinically proven advantages in effectiveness, safety, and improved outcomes, reducing pain and recovery time while making the process simpler for both the patient and the surgeon.
Are You a Candidate for OLLIF?
Have you suffered from low back and leg pain for 6 months or longer? Have you tried conservative treatments with no relief? Have you been recommended for lumbar fusion surgery? Then you may be a perfect candidate for a keyhole OLLIF procedure. To find out, sign up for a
OR call 727-MY-SPINE to talk to a patient care specialist.