What is AxiaLIF?
AxiaLIF stands for Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion – a new, alternative approach to traditional fusion procedures.
How AxiaLIF is Performed
The surgeon accesses your low back through a 1-inch incision next to your tailbone. The center of the diseased disc is removed, and bone growth material is inserted in its place. This material helps stimulate bone growth over time in order to “fuse.”
The AxiaLIF implant is inserted to distract the two vertebrae, meaning that any height lost from Degenerative Disc Disease is restored to its original, healthy disc height.
Your physician may or may not add posterior hardware for further stabilization of your spine after the AxiaLIF procedure has been performed.
What About Recovery?
The procedure is minimally invasive, so the scars are very small and the procedure carries less risks than a traditional “open” surgery. AxiaLIF does not cut through important tissue or nerves; therefore, the healing process is quicker and there is less post-operative pain commonly associated with traditional fusion surgery.
The AxiaLIF procedure time is typically 45 minutes and patients have been released from the hospital in as little as 24 hours, returning to work in as little as 15 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
I saw the people on your Patient Stories video. Do all AxiaLIF Patients do so well?
We are pleased to say that the people seen in the video did very well. Likewise, in two separate studies, patients experienced a significant reduction in pain. However, results do vary from patient to patient.
Because this surgical procedure is minimally invasive compared with traditional fusion procedures, recovery time is significantly reduced in many cases.
What are the risks of this procedure?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. However, when compared to other fusion procedures which enter your spine through the abdomen (ALIF) or directly through the back (PLIF), AxiaLIF has less risks. There is no need to bypass vital nerves, arteries or muscle, and no need to strip back muscles from your spine to get to the diseased disc. This sparing of soft tissue and muscle provides less risks and complications after your surgery.
How long will it take to get back to work?
Many people can return to work in as little as 15 days. However, individual results may vary.
How long will it take to return to my daily activities?
Your doctor will recommend that you take it easy for a couple of weeks. After about two weeks, the majority of AxiaLIF patients will be up and performing their daily activities. However, results do vary from patient to patient.
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. This discomfort will tend to diminish over a short period of time.
In two separate patient studies, patients experienced a significant reduction in pain. Also, because this is minimally invasive in comparison to other fusion procedures, recovery time is significantly reduced in many cases.
How long will I have to stay in the hospital after surgery?
For a traditional fusion surgery, the average length of stay is four days*. AxiaLIF length of stay is typically one to two days. Some AxiaLIF procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and patients go home on the day of surgery.
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 about one-inch long and located next to your tailbone. Depending on your doctor, you may have further stabilization in your spine that would require one or two 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.
The AxiaLIF® (Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion) System includes surgical instruments for creating a safe and reproducible pre-sacral access route to the L5 – S1 vertebral bodies. The AxiaLIF® technique features novel instrumentation to enable standard of care fusion principles, distraction and stabilization of the anterior lumbar column while mitigating the soft tissue trauma associated with traditional lumbar fusion through open surgical incisions.
Using AxiaLIF®, the lumbar spine is accessed through a percutaneous opening adjacent to the sacral bone. This atraumatic tissue plane alleviates the need for the surgeon to cut through soft tissues like muscles and ligaments, thus lessening patient pain and the likelihood of complications. This minimally invasive approach allows patients to be discharged from the hospital the day after surgery, and on average return to work in 15 days. This is a dramatic reduction in hospital lengths of stay, which can otherwise run three to four nights, followed by a one- to two-month recovery period before returning to work.