Decompressive Surgery

Transforaminal endoscopic discectomy

Another technique for accessing the disc space for a fusion is through an incision in the low back in a posterior approach, called a posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), or a transforaminal interbody fusion (TLIF). Approaching the disc space from the posterior has the benefit over an ALIF of requiring only one incision in the lower back.

However, only a limited portion of the disc space can be accessed from the back since the dural sac that contains the nerve roots is in the way. This limits the size of the interbody fixation device that can be used, and therefore can limit the added stability and fusion area. Furthermore, placing a device from the posterior into the disc space puts both the exiting and traversing nerve root at risk.

Microendoscopic METRx approach

Minimally invasive spine surgery is different from traditional, open spine surgery in that the open approach involves making a long incision down the back, stripping large bands of muscle away from the spine and then retracting, or pulling to each side, the surrounding muscles so the surgeon can get a clear view of the vertebrae of the spine to be treated. Minimally invasive spine surgery requires a small incision, muscle dilation and the use of microsurgical and image guided technologies to access, view and repair spinal deterioration or damage. Muscle dilation involves gently and gradually separating, rather than cutting and stripping the muscles that surround the spine. Surgeons can use the METRx® System to perform various surgical procedures including discectomy, cervical foraminotomy, decompression, scar tissue removal, etc.

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