- obtained from a bone bank, this human bone graft material is placed between vertebrae to develop fusion


- the outer casing of a vertebral disc

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

- an operation where the lumbar spine is approached from the front through an incision in the abdomen


- a bone graft taken from the patient’s body that is placed between vertebrae to develop fusion

Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion (AxiaLIF)

- minimally invasive lumbar fusion technique where the spine is approached through a small incision near the tailbone

Bone Graft

- bone taken from the patient during surgery or a bone substitute that is used to take the place of removed bone or to fill a bony defect

Bone Spurs

- bony projections formed along joints that can limit motion and can cause pain (also called osteophytes)

Cancellous Bone

- open, latticed, or porous inner bone structure

Cauda Equina

- a bundle of nerve roots from the lumbar and sacral spinal nerves

Cervical Spine

- the uppermost portion of the spine; the neck


- the tip of the tailbone


– the presence of one or more secondary disorders or diseases in addition to the diagnosed primary condition.


- a factor that renders the administration of a drug or device or the carrying out of a medical procedure inadvisable

Cortical Bone

- the dense, hard outer layer of bone material

Degenerative Disc Disease

- a slow deterioration of discs located between vertebrae, often accompanied by loss of disc height


- removal of a portion of a herniated or degenerative intervertebral disc

Dura Mater

- a protective membrane covering the spinal cord and brain

Facet Joint

- There is one facet joint on each side of a vertebra, together these joints allow movement between two vertebrae and provide stability


- a portable x-ray machine used in surgery


- the small openings in the spine through which nerve roots pass


- the joining together of two or more vertebra

Herniated Disc

- a bulge in a disc that can press on nerves and cause pain

Intervertebral Disc

- a flat, round “cushion” that acts as a shock absorber between vertebrae


- abnormal rearward curvature of the spine, resulting in protuberance of the upper back (hunchback)


- a part of the vertebra located in the back of the vertebral body


- when part or all of the lamina is removed

Lateral decubitus position

– the patient is lying on their side; right lateral decubitus when the patient lies on the right side and left lateral decubitus when the patient lies on the left side.


- abnormal forward curvature of the spine

Lumbar Spine

- lower portion of the spine between the thoracic spine and the sacrum. The lumbar spine consists of five bones (vertebrae) labeled L1-L5.

Minimally Invasive

- a surgical procedure where a small incision is made and instrumentation is used through this incision


– the use of neurophysiology to monitor function of neural structures (e.g. the brain, spinal cord, nerves) or to localize nerves during surgery.

Nucleus Pulposus

- center of the intervertebral disc

Oswestry Disability Index (ODI)

- a low back pain disability questionnaire used to measure a patient’s permanent functional disability


- strong portion of the spinal vertebral bone that connects the front of the spine to the back of the spine


- the bony structure formed by the hip bones, sacrum, and coccyx

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion – (PLIF)

- a spine fusion operation where the patient’s lumbar spine is approached through an incision in the center of the back

Psoas muscle

– A muscle located on either side of the lumbar spine. It begins at the lower thoracic spine and connects to the iliacus muscle down at the iliac crest. The muscle functions to hold the spine upright or flex it in a direction.


- pain that may extend into the extremities and originates from a pinched, compressed or irritated nerve root


– the condition where a vertebra or vertebral body slips backward (toward the spinal canal) over the vertebral body below it.

Sacroiliac Joints

- joints that connect the sacrum to the pelvis


- The sacrum consists of five vertebrae labeled S1-S5. The vertebrae are normally fused, but in some patients may not all be fused due to natural anatomic variance.


- pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain which radiates from the back to the lower extremities

Spinous Process

- bony portion at the back of the vertebral body


- forward displacement of one of the lumbar vertebrae over the vertebrae below it


- A crack in the facet joints on one or both sides

Spinal Stenosis

- the narrowing of the spinal canal. The resulting nerve compression often results in pain

Supplemental Fixation

– additional spinal implants that are used to fixate the spine. Pedicle screws and rods are one example of supplemental fixation in Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion procedures.

Thoracic Spine

- middle portion of the spine below the cervical spine (neck) and above the lumbar spine. This area consists of your upper body and ribs.

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion – (TLIF)

- an operation where the lumbar spine is approached from just off the center line

Transverse Processes

- small, bony bumps where back muscles attach to vertebrae

Vertebra (plural: vertebrae)

- any one of the 33 bony segments of the spinal column

Visual Analog Scale

- A tool used by healthcare providers to help a person rate the intensity of certain sensations and feelings, such as pain.

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.