Least invasive neural decompression and fusion (LINDIF) is a minimally invasive procedure the surgeons at Orthopedic and Wellness may recommend to patients to correct and stabilize spinal discs and surrounding vertebrae. This procedure is typically performed on patients who have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or other spinal conditions that result in chronic low back and leg pain from a pinched or damaged nerve. This procedure provides a number of benefits over comparable procedures like a minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar endoscopic fusion because it is performed in an outpatient setting and it's less invasive.
The LINDIF procedure is typically performed employing a posterior approach to the spine; meaning, the patient is lying on his or her stomach to expose the low back. The surgical area is sterilized before the patient is put under general anesthesia. Because the surgeons at Orthopedic and Wellness utilize minimally invasive techniques, the procedure generally requires a few small incisions. Once the surgeon has safely accessed the spine, he or she will begin to remove bones blocking the damaged disc and part of the damaged disc itself. Then, the surgeon will fill the disc space with an interbody spacer that contains a bone graft before fusing it to the vertebrae. This device (i.e. interbody spacer) is intended to stabilize the spine as the bone heals between the vertebrae. The interbody spacer also lifts the spine slightly to displace pressure being placed on the pinched nerve(s). Screws are then placed into the bone for further support. If necessary, the surgeon may fuse a bone graft connecting two or more vertebra for further stabilization.
Because this is an outpatient procedure, patients undergoing LINDIF are monitored briefly after surgery before they are sent home that same day. Surgical dressings may be changed after the first couple of days, but they will be removed completely about two weeks after the surgery during a follow-up appointment with a physician. Until then, patients should be careful when handling their bandages, touching their wound, or showering, as these actions may cause an infection. Patients may be directed to a physical therapist during their recovery to regain flexibility, strength, and a full range of motion. Patients may also need to return for X-rays several months after the LINDIF procedure so the physician can determine whether the spine is healing correctly. Increased pain, swelling, redness, signs of an infection, and fever should be reported to an Orthopedic and Wellness physician right away.