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The ILIF Procedure (Interlaminar Lumbar Instrumented Fusion) was developed to overcome the potential shortcomings of standard lumbar spinal stenosis treatments (. decompression alone and decompression with fusion), using a minimally disruptive surgical technique. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a gradual narrowing of the space where nerves pass through the spine, which can be a result of aging and “wear and tear” on the spine from everyday activities and/or resultant positional changes of the vertebrae. The most common surgical treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis is a procedure called a decompression, which involves removing bone or ligaments that are pressing on the spinal cord and/or nerves.
The ILIF procedure involves a minimally disruptive decompression procedure called a laminotomy, which involves temporary distraction (opening up) of the space between the spinous processes, and careful removal of only small sections of bone to release the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion is an approved and effective method for fusing the lumbar spine. The goal of surgery is to decrease pain, correct spinal deformity, and improve stability. Complications may occur but are not common. The majority of patients are satisfied with their pain relief and the results of their surgery. It is important that all patients are physically and psychologically prepared. All patients should stop smoking prior to any surgery, as smoking is extremely detrimental to your spine health, potential bone healing and successful surgical outcomes. Please review additional details with your surgeon prior to your surgery.
The needle is smaller in size than that used during a conventional epidural approach. The procedure is performed with the patient lying on their belly using fluoroscopic (real-time x-ray) guidance, which helps to prevent damage to the nerve root. A radiopaque dye is injected to enhance the fluoroscopic images and to confirm that the needle is properly placed (See Figure 2). This technique allows the glucocorticoid medicine to be placed closer to the irritated nerve root than using conventional interlaminar epidural approach. The exposure to radiation is minimal.