Posterior Lumbar Decompression and Spinal Fusion (PLDF)
Posterior lumbar decompression and fusion is a minimally invasive lumbar spine surgery performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots in the lower back. The lower back, or lumbar region, is made up of the five lowest vertebrae (L1 - L5) that are just above the base of the spine. The lumbar region supports the bulk of the weight of the upper body and is the most common area of back pain.
When lumbar back pain is the result of nerve compression, due to wear and tear, degenerative conditions such as disc disease or arthritis or congenital deformities, the pressure needs to be relieved in order for the symptoms to be alleviated. Worsening neurological deficits can take place if the nerves sustain prolonged damage.
If the problem does not respond to conservative therapies, minimally invasive surgical alternatives will be considered. In a posterior lumbar decompression and fusion, both sides of the lamina are usually removed to expand the size of the spinal canal, taking pressure off of the spinal canal and nerve roots. The lamina is the section of bone that covers the back of the spinal cord.
As the name suggests, this procedure is done through the back, or posterior, of the body. It is accompanied by spinal fusion to link the vertebrae together. During the fusion portion of the surgery, bone growth is stimulated and then the grafts are put into place to fuse the vertebrae and stop the painful movement in the area. Titanium metal screws or a titanium metal cage can be used to hold the new bones together and provide much needed spinal stability.