Percutaneous Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion
Percutaneous Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion (PMILF) is a new surgical technique that has gained popularity in recent years. It offers patients suffering from chronic lower back pain and instability caused by degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis an innovative, less invasive alternative to traditional open surgery. Dr. Samuel Brown, the division chief physician at New York Spine & Pain Specialists, recently performed the first PMILF procedure on Long Island, expanding treatment options for patients and providing improved outcomes.
PMILF is a minimally invasive technique that requires small incisions and specialized instruments to access the spine. The surgeon places specialized fusion hardware and bone graft material between the vertebrae, which fuses together over time to form a solid, stable bone structure. Compared to traditional open lumbar fusions, PMILF requires no hospital stay, less anesthesia, less blood loss, and offers a shorter recovery time, measured in weeks instead of months.
Good candidates for PMILF are those with pain due to degenerative disc disease, moderate spinal stenosis, or a grade 1 spondylolisthesis (slipped disc) limited to one level. The decision to undergo PMILF should be made in consultation with a qualified spine specialist who can assess the patient's individual situation and recommend the best course of treatment.
While PMILF offers many benefits, there are still risks associated with any surgical procedure, such as bleeding, infection, nerve injury, and no improvement in pain. It is important to discuss these risks with your doctor before making a decision.
Dr. Brown emphasizes that PMILF is a new surgical technique that is useful for a select group of patients. It does not replace the need for traditional open-spine surgery for most spine conditions requiring surgery. Patients interested in PMILF can request a consultation with Dr. Brown, where he will review their medical history, symptoms, and spine imaging, and determine if PMILF is right for them.
Currently, there are no clinical trials underway at New York Spine & Pain Specialists for PMILF. However, Dr. Brown's success with the first procedure on Long Island highlights the potential for PMILF to expand treatment options and provide improved outcomes for patients suffering from chronic lower back pain and instability.