In this minimally-invasive procedure, the spinal nerve roots are decompressed and a metal device is implanted to stabilize the spine and help relieve back problems from conditions such as spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and degenerative arthritis.
Accessing the Spine
Anesthesia is administered and the patient is positioned. A small incision is made in the lower back. An opening is created through the ligaments at the rear of the spine. The surgeon can now access the spinous processes, the bony protrusions on the back of the spine, above and below the damaged disc.
Preparing the Spine
A portion of the top spinous process is removed. Parts of the lamina and facet bones on both vertebra are removed. Shaped allograft bone is placed into the cleared space between the spinous processes. The bone will promote fusion between
the spinous processes and provide a protective covering for the spinal cord and nerves.
Inserting the Implant
The metal implant is inserted and clamped into place. The implant will stabilize the spine and hold the spinous processes in place while fusion occurs.
Preparing for Fusion
Morsellated bone is placed over the decorticated facet joints and in the interspinous space above the allograft. Over time, the allograft and morsellated bone will form a bone bridge, fusing the vertebra above and below.
End of Procedure
The incision is closed with sutures and a bandage is applied. Patients are usually dscharged either later the same day or after a brief hospitalization.