The Lateral Interspinous Fusion Therapy (LIFT) Procedure offers a less-invasive alternative to traditional fusion procedures. We typically use the Minuteman G3R MIS device to stabilize the spine, achieving stability comparable to screws and rods, but with the advantages of our minimally-invasive approach. This helps alleviate symptoms of back and leg pain.
During this procedure, a 1-inch incision is made on the side of your body, dilation is used to access the spine, and the Minuteman G3R is implanted with bone graft. The advantages of this approach are that it does not require dissection or retraction of the sensitive back muscles, bones, or nerves. This allows for an outpatient procedure, a shorter operative time, less blood loss, and a faster recovery time.
About Back Pain
Back pain affects millions of Americans every year and has a negative impact on lifestyles, jobs, relationships, and mental well-being.
Back pain is usually caused by the natural degeneration of the spine as we age. Severe degeneration can cause weakness or instability of your spine, which can lead to debilitating pain in the lower back. These painful symptoms can also extend into your buttocks, legs, or feet.
While back and/or leg pain are extremely common, the symptoms and severity of the pain vary greatly. Your pain may be dull or sharp. It may be in one isolated area, or cover a broad area. The back pain may include shooting pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the legs and feet. Pain that travels to the legs and feet is due to the degenerative process that causes nerves around the spine to become pinched.
Identifying your symptoms, along with an accurate diagnosis of the underlying causes of the pain, is the first step to obtaining effective pain relief.
Spinal degeneration is a condition characterized by gradual wear and tear to the discs, joints, and bones of the spine. The cause of spinal degeneration is simple overuse or aging. As you age, the degenerative changes to your spine may include decreased disc height, instability, loss of joint cartilage, bone spurs (osteophytes), and thickened ligaments and bones. The discs serve as the cushion between each vertebra. Over time, these discs can become thinner and less flexible due to loss of fluid, or they can develop tiny tears and cracks that cause the disc to bulge, break open, or fragment. This decreases the disc’s ability to cushion the vertebrae. Spinal degeneration can lead to instability in the spine. This is when one vertebra slips forward over another vertebra, causing pain. Arthritis is a form of spinal degeneration. Due to a loss of joint cartilage, bone spurs and thickened ligaments can develop and cause narrowing of the spinal canal. As a result, the spinal nerve roots may become pinched and cause pain that radiates down the leg.
Treatment of your back and/or leg pain depends on the history and severity of the pain, as well as on test results that identify the source of the pain.
Your doctor may prescribe conservative treatment options such as rest, heat, medication, physical therapy, and/or cortisone injections.
If these treatments fail to provide long-lasting pain relief, then your doctor may recommend spinal fusion surgery. During this surgical procedure, two or more vertebrae are fused together to restrict the movement that is causing your pain. Traditionally, large stabilizing screws and rods are placed into the vertebrae to act as an internal brace and allow the fusion to occur. These implants are effective at immobilizing the spine, but require wide, posterior dissection to normal, healthy tissue for insertion.
In recent years, technological advancements have allowed more spinal conditions to be treated with minimally-invasive surgical (MIS) techniques.
MIS surgeons use specialized instruments and implants through small incisions and can access your spine from the side of the body (lateral).