What Is Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion?

OLLIF is a new, highly effective surgery for spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, herniated disc and degenerative disc disease. "OLLIF" stands for "oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion". It is one of the most innovative back surgeries available for treating low back pain conditions. For patients considering lumbar fusion, the OLLIF offers significant advantages in the ease and speed of recovery. And unlike most other spinal fusion approaches, the OLLIF procedure can be used to effectively treat all lumbar levels of the spine.

The OLLIF is one of Inspired Spine's signature advanced minimally invasive spinal surgery procedure – a revolutionary advancement in minimally invasive spine surgery that our surgeons have perfected with years of research and practice. Inspired Spine's OLLIF procedure is a demonstrably safer and more reliable outpatient surgery that delivers immediate and permanent pain relief. In fact, 96% of Inspired Spine OLLIF patients are walking without assistance within 24 hours after surgery and are back to performing normal daily activities in 2 to 4 weeks. 

OLLIF vs. Traditional Lumbar Fusion

The diseased or damaged disc is accessed through Kambin's triangle – a right triangle-shaped area over the disc, which is formed by the exiting nerve root at the top and the border of the vertebrae at the base (width).Compared to the OLLIF, traditional fusion surgeries to treat spinal conditions involve significantly more time in the operating room and a larger incision. For an open transforaminal lumbar fusion procedure (TLIF), the surgeon must cut through significant muscle tissue with a much longer incision than the OLLIF's ½-inch incision. There is also more blood loss and bone removal.

Traditional fusion surgeries are performed in a hospital operating room, take a lot longer, and typically require a hospital day of at least a few days. They can also make it much harder for patients to get back to normal life and activities with months of demanding rehab to compensate for damaged back muscles. This more invasive spine surgery technique is a high-risk inpatient procedure requiring 3 to 4 hours in the operating room, followed by a 3 to 5-day hospital stay and an 18 to 24-week recovery period.

Inspired Spine's OLLIF technique delivers commensurate to superior outcomes to those delivered by traditional approaches with a lower risk 40-minute outpatient procedure which enables most patients to be discharged the same day. The OLLIF procedure is the only truly minimally invasive alternative for lumbar fusion with clinically proven advantages in effectiveness, safety, and improved outcomes, reducing pain and recovery time while making the process simpler for both the patient and the surgeon.

OLLIF Surgery Benefits for the Patient

Patients with a High BMI

A high body mass index (BMI) increases the risk of lower back pain, puts strain and pressure on the spine and often contributes to symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, herniation, stenosis, and scoliosis…all of which can make it more difficult to get relief.

Many surgeons reject high BMI patients for traditional open back surgery because of the challenging nature of the procedure, the longer surgery times and possible tissue damage and infection complications that make it high risk, low reward.

Unlike conventional treatment, the OLLIF procedure is low risk and high reward, whether your BMI is high or low. The OLLIF's procedure duration (as displayed in the following chart) is not impacted by BMI, while TLIF and MITLIF both show considerable increases in surgery time as the BMI increases. The risk of complications increases 17% for every additional 30 minutes of surgery.

Minimal Scarring

As a result of our fluoroscopic minimally invasive surgery approach, you can expect less scarring, less pain from the operation and a faster recovery compared with open surgery.
Often Doesn't Require a Hospital Stay

Because of its minimally invasive nature, the OLLIF is performed without an extended hospital stay and often without any overnight stay. The procedure itself can take as little as 45 minutes, compared to the hours spent on traditional spinal fusion procedures.

In general, an OLLIF procedure takes about half the time or less as a comparable TLIF (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) surgery would. There is no need to cut through the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine, so recovery is faster.

Low Risk and Quick Recovery

The OLLIF results in a very fast recovery period. Patients are frequently up and walking around within several hours and many go home the same day as surgery. In fact, the OLLIF does not need to be done in a hospital at all; it can be performed routinely in an outpatient surgery center instead.
Blood loss is minimal, because of the very small incision and the risk of complications is significantly lower than that of traditional spinal fusions.

But what most patients will appreciate is the speed of their recovery. Many can return to work and normal activities in a couple of weeks, as opposed to the lengthy and demanding rehabilitation process required with open fusions.

Because of its short operating time, minimum rehab requirements, and high-safety profile, the OLLIF is often recommended for patients who have been denied surgery because of certain risk factors, such as age, obesity, or deformity.

This is good news for elderly or frail patients with Adult Degenerative Scolosis, because several levels of the spine can be accessed from a single OLLIF incision, providing live-changing pain relief.

Are You a Candidate for OLLIF?

You may be a perfect candidate for the advanced minimally invasive OLLIF procedure if one or more of the following is true:

  • You have suffered from low back and leg pain for 6 months or longer
  • You have tried conservative treatments with no significant relief
  • You have been recommended for lumbar fusion surgery

To find out whether you are a candidate for OLLIF, schedule your no-risk, free consultation today with one of our caring surgeons at Inspired Spine. We accept most forms of insurance, including Medicare. Call (952) 225-5266 today!