Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion System
For some patients requiring an interbody fusion device at the L5-S1 level (where the lumbar spine meets the sacrum) surgery can be a major undertaking, associated with risks as well as patient discomfort. A new technique has been developed with excellent results that obviates the need for large incisions and lengthy stays in the hospital. Such techniques usually involve an incision in the abdomen or the back that allow for the placement of metallic cylinders within the disc space. Such surgeries may last for several hours and are associated with risks of vascular and nerve root injury. Patients usually recover in the hospital for several days.
The Axial Lumbar Interbody FusionSystem (Axial LIF™) is a minimally invasive approach to the L5-S1 disc space being utilized by spine surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh. The point of access for placing this new system is just lateral to the coccyx. This point of access alleviates the need for the surgeon to cut through soft tissues such as muscles and ligaments, thus lessening patient pain and the likelihood of complications. This minimally invasive approach allows patients to be discharged from the hospital the day after surgery. Patients can return to work within weeks instead of months.
The Axial LIF System includes devices used to access the spine, remove the diseased disc material, re-establish normal disc height and stabilize the spine to enable lumbar fusion to occur. The procedure is performed via an incision of only 1 cm in length, with complete preservation of all native paraspinal soft tissue structures including the disc annulus. So far, experience with the AxialLIF system with patients at the University of Pittsburgh has been very positive. The patients have been extremely pleased with the results and surprised at how little post-operative pain they have experienced.
Above: Installation (left) and final placement (right)