Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion

OLIF Spine Surgery

What is Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion Spine Surgery?

Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion, or OLIF, is a spine surgery intended to correct problems caused by a degenerated disc in your spine. Once degeneration takes place in your spine, symptoms include lower back pain, weakness, numbness, and chronic pain.

The procedure uses an oblique, or from the side, approach to gain access to the damaged discs in the lumbar spine, or lower back. The procedure creates more space for the nerves by removing damaged intervertebral disc and bone and then, fusing two adjacent spinal vertebrae.

Benefits of OLIF spine surgery

OLIF is considered a minimally invasive procedure because it is tissue-sparing with a small incision. It spares the bones, ligaments, and muscles from major disruption. This means you can preserve your back strength even after the procedure.

Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion Technique

The OLIF is different from other interbody fusion techniques in that to approach the spine, the surgeon makes a very small incision in the skin of the patient’s side. Then, using small tools that are minimally invasive, your surgeon creates a narrow passageway through the underlying soft tissues.

Video explanation of oblique lumbar interbody fusion surgery

When is it time to consider OLIF spine surgery?

Patients with low back and/or leg pain who have not responded to non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy or medications may benefit from the procedure. Oblique lumbar interbody fusion is recommended to correct fractured vertebrae, degenerative disc disease, spondylolysis/spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra over another), scoliosis (abnormal curvatures of the spine), or other spinal instabilities.

Your Recovery after Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Depending on the complexity of the procedure, patients may stay in the hospital 1-2 days. 

Generally, OLIF spine surgery has a high success rate. While many patients hesitate to undergo this procedure for fear of being unable to resume normal physical activities, this isn’t the case for most patients. Our team is here to walk you through the process.

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Meet our Spine Surgeon

Dr. Stephanie de Vere is a dual fellowship-trained in complex spine and neurosurgery.  Dr. de Vere specializes in OLIF surgery.

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