What is AxiaLIF?
AxiaLIF stands for Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion – a minimally invasive alternative
approach to traditional fusion procedures.
How AxiaLIF is Performed
The surgeon accesses your lower back through an approximately 1-inch incision next
to your tailbone. The center of the degenerated disc is removed, and bone
material is inserted in its place. This material helps bone growth over time in order to
“fuse” the spine.
The AxiaLIF implant is inserted to stabilize the vertebrae while fusion is occurring.
During insertion, your surgeon can restore disc height and alignment. Your physician
will add posterior implants for further stabilization of your spine after the AxiaLIF
procedure has been performed.
Click below to view the AxiaLIF Plus 1-Level Procedure Animation
Click below to view the AxiaLIF Plus 2-Level Procedure Animation
Open Surgical Approaches
ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion)
Traditionally an open procedure, ALIF has been used for years for lumbar spinal fusions.
In an ALIF, thesurgeon enters through the abdomen to access the lower portion of the
spine. The primary advantage of ALIF is that it does not require dissection of the back
muscles in order to reach the disc. Its primary risk is damage to blood vessels and
nerves. This risk can be significant if the patient has had multiple abdominal procedures
in the past which could have caused scarring and damage.
PLIF (Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion)
PLIF is traditionally an “open” surgery and has also been safely performed for years.
The advantage of PLIF is that it does not require dissection around major vessels in
order to reach the disc. Its primary risk is damage to the dural sac and its approach
requires extensive dissection of back muscles. Because these muscles are being pulled
from their attachments to the spine, the surgery can cause pain and scarring.
Goals of Minimally Invasive Surgery
AxiaLIF presacral fusion is one of many minimally invasive surgeries. The goals of minimally invasive surgery, or MIS, are:
• Minimal blood loss
• Less post-operative pain
• Improved recovery times
• Potentially shorter hospital stay
• Potentially less pain medication required
All surgeries, open or minimally invasive, put you at risk of complications, including pain, scarring, bleeding, complications from anesthesia, additional required surgeries if the surgery is ineffective, infection, and injury to healthy tissues such as nerves, organs, and blood vessels. These complications can result in permanent disability or even death. Your surgeon will work with you to discuss these risks and determine the best treatment for you.
Selected Minimally Invasive Surgical Approaches
AxiaLIF (Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion)
The AxiaLIF approach was developed to allow the surgeon to access the lumbar spine with minimal risk of damaging vital nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. The access occurs via the presacral region near the tailbone. As with all surgical approaches, there are risks. Some of the risks with AxiaLIF include bowel perforation, infection, and hematoma. There are other risks as well; you should discuss these with your surgeon in detail.
Click here for additional AxiaLIF patient safety information >>
TLIF (Transforminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion)
TLIF procedures are performed in a similar manner to PLIF procedures, except the surgeon accesses the spine through a small incision slightly to the left or right of the center of the patient’s back. After reaching the spine, the surgeon removes a portion of the facet joint and navigates through the foramen to gain access to the disc space. The primary advantage of TLIF is that it does not require dissection around major vessels or retraction of the dural sac. The primary disadvantage is damage to the exiting nerve root, which has to be retracted to reach the disc space.
Frequently Asked Questions
I read what people are saying about AxiaLIF. Do all AxiaLIF Patients do so well?
AxiaLIF, like any minimally invasive surgery, involves small incisions and minimal muscle damage. As a result, many patients may experience less post-operative pain associated with the approach compared to traditional open procedures, although this has not been clinically evaluated at this time. Each patient’s results are unique and one person’s results cannot be extrapolated to all patients.
How many scars will I have from this procedure? How big will they be?
The AxiaLIF portion of the procedure carries only one scar which is typically about one-inch long and located next to your tailbone. You will have further stabilization in your spine that would require one or more small vertical scars down each side of your back. Ask your doctor about posterior instrumentation such as facet screws or pedicle screws which further stabilize your spine after the AxiaLIF procedure is performed.
What are the risks of this procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. With AxiaLIF, there is no dissection of vital nerves, arteries or muscle.
There are other risks, such as bowel injury, associated with AxiaLIF, which should be discussed with your surgeon in reference to this procedure and spine surgery in general. An injury to bowel would require medical, and possibly surgical, intervention.
Click here for additional AxiaLIF patient safety information >>
How much pain should I expect after the procedure is performed?
The amount of pain that a patient will experience immediately following the procedure can vary. As with most spine surgeries, this discomfort will tend to diminish over time.
How long will I have to stay in the hospital after surgery?
AxiaLIF length of stay is dependent on your individual surgical outcome and your surgeon’s medical opinion.
How long will it take to return to my daily activities?
Only your doctor can determine when you should resume your regular activities.
How do I know if AxiaLIF is right for me?
AxiaLIF can be used at the L5-S1 or L4-S1 levels for treating previous fusion surgery that was unsuccessful, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. It can also be used to treat spondylolisthesis (where one vertebra slips forward over another): grade 1 for L4-S1 fusion and grade 2 for L5- S1. Note that AxiaLIF requires fixation hardware be implanted in the back of the spine – either pedicle screws or facet screws.
AxiaLIF cannot be used if you have had previous surgery that may compromise the access route or cause adhesions of the bowel to the tailbone (previous rectal surgery, for example). You should discuss this issue with your surgeon when considering AxiaLIF. AxiaLIF cannot be used if you are pregnant, have had prior radiation treatment to the tailbone or nearby anatomy, have coagulopathy, have scoliosis at the levels to be treated, or have a spondylolisthesis greater than those stated above. AxiaLIF is not to be used to treat tumor or trauma.
Please note: This website contains materials intended for your general educational information only. Information contained within this site is not intended to replace the relationship that you have with your healthcare professional. Baxano Surgical does not practice medicine or provide medical services or advice. Always speak with your healthcare professional regarding diagnosis and treatment of your condition.