Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

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Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons March 2008, Volume 16, Issue 3 Christian P. DiPaola, MD and Robert W. Molinari, MD Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) create intervertebral fusion by means of a posterior approach. Both techniques are useful in managing degenerative disk disease, severe instability, spondylolisthesis, deformity, and pseudarthrosis. Successful results have been reported with allograft, various cages (for interbody support), autograft, and recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2. Interbody fusion techniques may facilitate reduction and enhance fusion. The rationale for PLIF and TLIF is biomechanically sound. However, clinical outcomes of different anterior and posterior spinal fusion techniques tend to be similar. PLIF has a high complication rate (dural tear, 5.4% to 10%; neurologic injury, 9% to 16%). These findings, coupled with the versatility of TLIF throughout the entire lumbar spine, may make TLIF the ideal choice for an all-posterior interbody fusion.

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