What are the indications for ILIF procedure?
An ILIF is a minimally invasive procedure that provides additional stability to a weakened spinal segment after the nerves are decompressed by removal of bone (lamina, part of the joint) or bone and part of the disc. It is useful in patients where there is concern about future instability after the decompressive procedure. It does not require any additional muscle dissection and adds little time to the surgery.
How is an ILIF performed?
The first step is exposing the bony area of interest and removing disc or arthritic bone spurs from the joints to decompress the nerves of interest. After the nerves have been decompressed, the spinous processes are left intact. The ligament between the spinous processes is removed. A precision-machined bone donor graft is placed between the spinous processes to provide distraction (to allow for more space for the nerves) and fusion (to stabilize the segment). A small plate is then attached to the spinous processes to provide additional stability and promote the fusion of the donor bone graft. The ILIF procedure only adds about 15-20 minutes extra to the original decompression surgery.