Spinal Fusion Procedure for Back Pain Faster and Safer, Study Says

Spinal Fusion Procedure for Back Pain Faster and Safer, Study Says

By Staff

A new minimally invasive direct lateral interbody fusion (MIS-DLIF) procedure to reduce back pain provides faster and more effective results, says a new study.

The pilot study included nine participants and measured patient-reported pain, surgery time, duration of hospital stay and complications. The new MIS-DLIF is an advancement of the previously developed DLIF/XLIF procedure, which is completed more quickly and has the highest safety record.

Before surgery, patients reported an average of 9.3 out of 10 on sliding pain scale. At the first post-surgical follow-up, patients reported their pain was substantially reduced to 4.8 out of 10. Additional highlights of the study included: average surgery times were 44 minutes and 85 minutes for one and two segment procedures, respectively; and the average hospital stay was 0.3 days and 1.7 days for one and two segment procedures, with 4 of the 9 patients being discharged 2 to 4 hours after surgery.

These results indicate that MIS-DLIF may soon be routinely performed as an outpatient procedure. Also, these results are favorable when compared to those of traditional surgical methods, where procedural durations are between 2 and 4 hours and blood loss is typically 7 to 10 times higher.

MIS-DLIF reduced the risk of complications in the study and showed reduced blood loss by eliminating the need for open surgery via the employment of real time biplanar fluoroscopy X-ray imaging.

The procedure may be helpful for people with back pain due to degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis or severe disc herniation.

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Staff

There are 16 comments for this article
  1. Gloria E. Castro at 6:53 am

    I would not recommend a patient to undergo a spinal fusion. I have developed further medical issues because of the numerous fusions to my lower lumbar. I have undergone one artificial Spinal Cord Stimulator trial for managing chronic pain. This surgical procedure was for 10 days after one year of desperation of chronic pain, i underwent the surgical procedure to insert the Spinal Cord Stimulater permanently inplanted in my right buttocks. This procedure failed. I have undergone hours of physical therapy, spinal injections, etc., all failed. This is why I have been perscribed opiates by my physician. This is the only medical remedy that helps control my chronic everyday pain. This is my story. I developed chronic pain because, while employed, I was assaulted by a foster child, where I was employed as a professional social work/supervisor. Due to the traumatic assault, I sustained a herniated disk to my lower lumbar back, assault to my face, back, pulling of my hair, chasing me around the yard attemting to assault me with a hedge bush and a rod iron rake. The foster child knocked me down on the pavement and foster mother fell on top of me. The foster child continued to assault by pulling my hair, hitting, scratching and attempting to bite me and was kicking my chest. Although, the foster parent and I were restraining her due to the assault, I have had two lower lumbar laminectomies; all with complications starting with an artificial disk inplant to my lower lumbar vertebrae. The artificial disk that was permanently inplanted in my lower lumbar failed and moved from my lower lumbar position. My orthopaedic surgeon reported because of increasing lower back pain and the x-rays taken revealed the artificial disk had moved and was affecting my spinal cord. Emergency surgery was performed because of the possibility of paralization to my lower extremities. Thereafter, the artificial disk implant was removed. During the removal of the artificial disk the surgeon severed my right illiac vein, thus causing uncontrollable hemorrhage and a developing blood clot to my right leg. While on the operating table and loss of blood and emergency transfusions to spare my life after, one week of stabilization from the severed vein/surgery and loss of blood and tranfusions, I underwent a lower lumbar front, back laminectomy fusion surgery starting at L2 to L5, S1. Four years later another spinal laminectomy fusion surgery was performed, due to another herniated disk, L3 to L5, S1. Because of numerous surgeries and scar tissue, I developed nerve damage to my lower extremities and a vein that was blocked to my lower right leg causing insufficient blood flow from my right leg to my heart. This has caused swelling, pain, etc. Further, I am in constant chronic pain, which affects my moods, quality of life and every day life limitations. I can sit for forty five minutes, at the most, stand thirty minutes and walk no longer than one hour. And when sitting on the floor, I am not able to get up alone without assistance. Also, not only do I suffer with chronic pain but the pharmacy, Walgreens has refused to fill my opiate perscriptions. My doctor writes perscriptions for my chronic pain.and degenerating lower lumbar vertebrae. I visit the doctor once a month and I am monitored closely for opiate dependence. I am also being monitored by my physcian because of my usage of opiate medications, and permanent employment related injuries. I am told by the pharmacist or pharmacy techs when I hand them my perscriptions to be filled there is no opiate medications on the shelf and must be ordered. I’m told the medication will not be ready untill one week, maybe longer. At times, I have been been with out medication because of the refusal of the pharmasist to fill my legitimate perscriptions, thus not only causing further deliberating pain, rising hypertension and migraine headaches, but have become bed ridden and seeking anything to stop the nightmare of uncontrollable pain and agony. I am grateful, I found this website because, I am not the only person suffering from chronic pain and difficulties with the pharmacist filing my perscriptions and futher issues with the it’s staff. I feel this is against the law, unjust behavior toward the chronic pain sufferers and unprofessional pharmacy standards. It is unfortunate chronic pain sufferer have become victims of the medication perscriptions crisis and refills that are needed to releave the agony of every day pain. Also, another vital medical issue that has not been sufficiently addressed are the side effects of abruptly not being able to be weaned from the pain meds because the chronic pain sufferers like me not only suffer further higher level of pain, but stress, anger, nausea, vomitting, and increased blood pressure, headaches and risk possible death. This has caused me concern because, I have become a victim of pharmacies and insurance companies fraud that do not care to address the side affects of not taking medications as perscribed. I would be interested in forming a support group, in order to voice our opinions, stories and the illegal treatment by the community, medical doctors, Senators, insurance companies and pharmacies. I would like to start a petition about the necessity of chronic pain suffers and the necessity/importance of pharmacies and insurance companies authorizing of filling our perscriptions that help control our pain. And to protest on how we are treated because of attempting to fill our opiate medications, such as discrimination, lies, humiliation, physical, and emotional abuse. Lastly, how we suffer without our medications, increasing pain and possible further permanent damage to our bodies and psyche because of the injustice of the abuse of opiates by drug abusers, thieves who steal from stores, pharmacies, etc, so they can support their habit, which we have no control or blame. Again, we have become victims of the crisis of the mismanagement of pain medications by drug abusers drug seekers, etc. I am interested in advocating for those individuals that are suffering from chronic pain and experiencing difficulties filling their medications. Further, in my personal experience there are some chronic pain suffers that are not assertive or afraid to stand up for their medical rights. I am interested reaching out to them, providing support and hope in attempting to find a solution to the drug crisis. And I am interested in writing a Senate bill to our State Senator’s, pharmacies, insurance companies, etc. In order to voice our concern of how we have been treated and the injustice and humiliation that we are have undergone because of the mismanagement of the overall use of pain meds and abuse of other’s. For those individuals who are interested in joining the Chronic Pain Advocates support group, please e-mail me at gec7187@sbcglobal.net.
    Bless you all who have become victims of the pain/opiate medication crisis.

  2. Jean Price at 11:08 am

    The difficult thing is know to weigh in on deciding is that none of us who HAVE had fusions….which didn’t resolve our pain…know what life would be like if we hadn’t had the fusions!! Since a minor fall on a weakened neck or back could cause more pain and irreversible spinal cord damage if left unstabilized with a fusion! And pressure left on a nerve in one area can cause bowel, bladder, or sexual dysfunction…and greatly impair walking…when all of this might have been avoided with surgery! It’s also possible the surgery iITSELF can CAUSE thes same problems, though! (Yet one can be more ASSURED to cause trouble, leaving the pressure….versus the POSSIBILITY of having a poor outcome to the surgery causing issues!). If a doctor recommends a fusion and plans to leave in the disk…I’d be really against this! Since the cracked or damaged disk itself secretes a chemical that causes pain! Then some pain would be fused in place!!

    As for myself…multiple surgeries didn’t totally “fix” me or my pain… although they did help some of my structural instability problems and likely prevented more nerve damage. Especially one surgery I had where a disk fragment had almost amputated my nerve root! Yet the big issue for me was also having multiple complications!! And like many others, I STILL have pain and therefore decreased functioning! Although much of it is different pain!! Sometimes even more pain in different areas…because surgery isn’t a complete and total return to normal for anyone! Considering it to be will likely set you up for a big disappointment!!

    EVERY DECISION HAS CONSEQUENCES…some good and some not at all what you want to have to live with!! Yet when the pain AND the risks of NOT having surgery outweigh the POSSIBLE risks of having it, including ending up having more or different pain from the surgery,…then surgery can be a viable option TO CONSIDER. Second opinions are helpful sometimes, and finding the doctors with the best techniques and best outcome histories for their patients. (Not always easy to research this though. Especially when you’re hurting and unclear what to do!). A physician who only does one type of surgery, likes back or neck surgery or whatever the area is that’s needing help…can also be a good option. They likely have seen more and done more, AND handled more complications. But I’ve also seen less experienced doctors give better care! So it’s still not a guarantee!

    And if you want a guarantee, I would be very uncomfortable with any doctor who would actually give you one!! There are too many individual factors to allow any guarantees! The best you can do is chose what you believe will be the best option FOR YOURSELF at the time! Remembering that you really DID make the best decision possible with the information you had then, if things don’t turn out the way you’re unwanted! None of us would likely chose SURGERY with any complications…IF WE HAD KNOWN THIS WOULD HAPPEN TO US, but we can’t know! And we can’t know what would have happened if we had NOT gone ahead with the surgery EITHER! Like an old song tells us…”The future’s not ours to see. What will be, will be!”

  3. Sidney at 9:18 pm

    This study was based on NINE PATIENTS!!! And we’re supposed to trust that.
    False hope; the title is like click bait. “Spinal Fusion Procedure for Back Pain Faster and Safer, Study Says”. Big deal, THERE WERE NINE (9) PATIENTS WERE IN YOUR STUDY.
    They cannot generalize their results to the entire population of people with back pain!
    Unless having nine successful fusion procedures is considered a success.
    How many successes for the current spinal fusion procedures?

  4. Michele Howe at 8:40 pm

    I want to say a big thank you to all the honest and painful testimonials regarding Spinal Fusion and also Spinal Injections. I was told that I needed to have the injections first, but have heard so many negative responses that I am refusing to get them. I am so angry that the CDC has the right to decide how many or how much medication a person can receive. I’d love to see how they would react if they were suffering with daily 24/7 chronic pain. For us who are responsible with our medication, it is a true shame that these restrictions are now deciding how we live and how long it will be before many give up the fight and terminate their life. I have been lucky so far and am still receiving my same dosages, but the stress of worrying if and when a reduction will happen has only exasperated my pain. My heart breaks for those who are suffering from these new guidelines.

  5. Ben Aiken Longfellow at 1:10 pm

    Two and counting. 25 years ago. When I regained my first consciousness after the second surgery, I asked the nurse IF I could have something for the pain. She said ” if we give you any more, you will stop breathing”. I knew that I was in for a TOUGH, painful recovery. Problem is, it has never stopped hurting. Wake up at a 6 or 7, by the end of the day, the normal is an 8 to 10. EVERYDAY! Over 20 years…..and counting. It took almost 5 years to find the “best” pain medication that worked…….for me. Everyone’s concept of pain is different. The CDC is reducing my medication from 100 milligrams per day down to only 20 milligrams per day. I started out on more a day than that over 20 years ago! I will NEVER be able to deal with the pain and only 20 milligrams per day. It is the ONLY medication I take! TRULY I do hope that the new fusion procedure IS faster, safer,and above all, more effective to ease the pain. If ALL chronic pain patients were “guilty” of adding to or perpetuating the mortality rate in chronic pain patients who are prescribed opioid medication then, not much could be said if everyone’s medication dosage was lowered. I have NOT been lawfully accused of contributing to the “opioid epidemic” as per the CDC. I have been RESPONSIBLE with my medication for OVER 20 years. The nerve damage and pain level from surgery has NOT decreased! It IS discrimination to lower all dosage of opioid medication as per the CDC. Our doctors KNOW which patients need a higher or lower dosage without being blackmailed into lowering ALL dosage by their license forfeiture! The CDC “guideline” is a discriminating policy or LAW that are placing non cancer chronic pain patients immediately into a state of mental anguish, and soon a to a point of crippling amount of pain that is OUT OF CONTROL on a 24 hour a day basis. My physician and myself have not even considered lowering the dosage of my medication in over 5 years and I have NOT asked for a higher dosage! “Guideline”??? The CDC is NOT truthful to the American public about the “guideline”.policy. It is mandantory for the responsible patients as well as the irresponsible. A large part of irresponsibility with being prescribed opioid medication may even lie with under medication but, the CDC will NOT acknowledge that fact. The people that do have problems with opioid abuse need help, not further persecution. My prayers are with those who may be fortunate enough to have a fusion surgery actually stabilize or better yet lower their pain level .

  6. Jessica L Agee at 9:54 am

    Hi Crissy , Im sorry to hear that my spinal fusion ruined my life also. I was 27 in 2007 & I made the worst decision of my life! Now my fusion was @C5 – C7 & I’ve been in pain since. I have nerve damage , DDD , another herniated disc above my plate , arthritis in my back , Fibromyagia , osteoarthritis of both hips & pretty sure in both knees. Not a day goes by I’m not in pain. I’m afraid to ever have a spinal fusion again. I really hope this works for people I do. That would be an amazing thing. I don’t wish this on anyone.. sorry to all my chronic pain warrior’s … Jess

  7. HAZZY at 7:44 am

    IF, YOUR DOCTOR SAY’S YOU NEED A FUSION, THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT IT. EVERYONE I’VE TALKED TO WISH THEY NEVER HAD IT DONE !!! INCLUDING MYSELF. AFTERWARDS I WISH I NEVER HAD THIS DONE. SO, PLEASE FOLKS THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT IT………..

  8. HAZZY at 11:08 am

    I forgot to add to my comment above, i had a Laminectomy, which they removed 40% of my disc at L4/L5, after a couple years my disc started to disinigrate and i was rubbing bone on bone and i was given a fusion at L4/L5 and now all my disc’s are starting to discinagrate. So now you can see why im constantley running a pain level at a 5.5 to a 7….Thanks

  9. HAZZY at 10:02 am

    I’ve had a back fusion, at L4/L5 ever this surgery i have been in nothing but pain, at a 5-6 level and sometimes a pain level of 8. I’m in Pain Management that isn’t doing one bit of good. I’ve had shots and they didn’t help. The only thing that helps me is my pain Meds !!!! they are locked up, because of theft and they are given to me by my wife every day. Now, the only thing that allows me to do anything, the Government is trying to take that away, all because of these addicts and these crooked pharmacists. If, you have ever been in Pain 24-7, it is no picnic………..Thank-You

  10. Lisa at 8:54 am

    I just had my 5th fusion surgery on December 23rd. I was already exercising by week 5 of recovery. I don’t know if it’s the procedure that has gotten better or if it’s because I know what to do now and what to expect. No matter what, not an easy surgery to go through!

  11. Jocelyne Merwin at 8:31 am

    This procedure sounds really promising . Could you please email me any more information about it? Or where they are performing it….Thank you in advance

  12. Jean Price at 8:08 am

    Sometimes minimally invasive is a real plus…yet NOT always! If the procedure doesn’t allow ALL the contributing factors to be addressed, then an additional surgery within a short time may be necessary!! This doesn’t help al all! And can leave patients feeling like something could have and should have been done originally to prevent this! For my own self, a minimally invasive one level fusion to correct severe cervical stenosis was not helpful…leaving me in more pain and needing another surgery less than three months later! And now facing an ADDITIONAL two level fusion above the previous level, because it wasn’t very stable in the first place! So MINIMAL doesn’t always translate to GOOD!!

    Similarly, incidences of having laminectomies instead of fusions can also mean minimal (and minimally invasive) procedures are used…requiring less recovery time….yet NOT ALL solving the problem…the instability that’s causing some of the pain! And they also do not solve the fractured or disrupted disk being left in itself, leaking and exuding a caustic substance that causes even more pain! The decisions to choose minimal procedures can also sadly hinge on costs and expense, like companies avoiding more expenses to be covered by them…or more to be picked up by the patient! However, once again…if additional procedures are then needed, the expense of the added procedures likely is greater…and of course adds to a bigger overall expenditure, which might have been avoided!

    When minimally invasive options are used as “step therapy” instead of being the single BEST choice for the patient, nothing is gained here. Yet health care more and more requires these steps…the plain X-ray before the CAT scan…even when a scan will definitely ALSO be needed, the scan before the MRI…even though the doctor knows an MRI will be more helpful and actually necessary, the cheaper medication before the one the doctor feels will help the very most…and have less side effect potential.

    Likewise, REFUSING coverage for even less invasive, less complex procedures is also not helpful to receiving good care!! Like refusing coverage for vasectomies, yet covering the (unwanted) obstetric charges, which would be higher…and also some cover the woman’s option, which is more expensive AND more invasive!! It all plays out for benefiting the insurance companies first…even though they may risk additional losses with the need of further procedures! When I worked in a position associated with hospice, we had a full time negotiating person who would contact insurance companies to explain how covering the patient’s desired hospice services would be so much less than paying for endless days of hospital care. Yet few companies would allow this adjustment! Which left patients in the hospital (which they didn’t want), at great expense to the insurance company…or left them paying out of pocket for hospice, risking hospital admissions. Ridiculous, really…since covering hospice care fully would have been ten times less for the insurance company to pick up…than days in themshopsitsl or even one or two ER visits!

    So “minimal” should definitely be based on the patient’s need and not other factors which come into play! And looked at long term as a viable SOLUTION…not just a quick OR TEMOORARY fix, explaining all OPTIONS and their benefits and risks…it to the patient! Sadly, many times it is not!

  13. Kahty C at 7:41 am

    I have to wonder why they even bother. A “Study” with nine participants, right there it shows the limitations. A 4.3 on the “Pain Scale” Reduction in Pain, well that is something, though due to the limited nature of the “Study” we have no idea, about duration. This is the nature of so called “Scientific Research” today. They just leave out a lot of “Facts.” Clearly they are promoting a “Proprietary Procedure”, and perhaps even a Device. Hey! They probably even scheduled the Pain Check ins for the morning so they would appear lower. Perhaps there were Steroids or other Drugs involved giving the lower “Reported Pain.” They have not done much “Research” on expectations, or “Placebo Effect’ either. The Subjects would feel obligated to report lower pain due to expectations of improvement or investment of time and money.
    Heck! We just don’t have the “Research.” This is the “Pop Culture” Misleading “News” usurpation of the Scientific Method for Financial gain! They will promote the heck out of this and everyone will want one. Most Physicians only go with the superficial Advertising anyway. If they repeat this in enough Commercial Magazines, or maybe event “the Doctors” Show on Television. They can hype it along with the latest wrinkle cream, or cosmetic procedure. It isn’t about the Science anymore it is about the Hype and Marketing to desperate people in pain, and greedy HMO’s. We won’t hear about the failures, we won’t even know how many subjects this “Study” started with. Shameless!

  14. Chrissy at 5:46 am

    Boy do I wish! 3 fusion surgeries the hard way! That ruined my life!

  15. connie at 5:03 am

    I wonder if this procedure will reduce the number of possible long term negative effects of the current procedure?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *