OLIF - Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Black and white photo of spine specialist, Colin Crosby, MD, performing surgery

According to Startstanding.org, about 80% of people in the western world will suffer from low back pain. Our back doctors at Elite Sports Medicine in Nashville and Franklin, TN specialize in the spine and offer the latest, most advanced treatment options to help low back pain.

One of the most advanced procedures for low back pain is an Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion, also known as an OLIF.


What is an OLIF?

Oblique lumbar interbody fusion is a surgical procedure that allows spine specialists to replace a disc via a fusion device through a small incision in a patient’s abdomen. By replacing the disc, the orthopedic specialist can realign the spine to relieve lower back pain and treat spinal stenosis.

OLIF is one of the latest advancements in spine surgery and practiced by Elite orthopedic doctor, Dr. Colin Crosby.


What Doctors Perform OLIF?

Orthopedic surgeons specializing in spine surgery can perform oblique lumber interbody fusions.

Spine surgeons may require additional training as this procedure is a new advancement in spine surgery.


Is OLIF a Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Yes, an OLIF is a minimally invasive procedure


Minimally Invasive Surgery

What are the Advantages to Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery allows an orthopedic surgeon to create a smaller incision. This provides a shorter and more comfortable recovery.

Who is a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

When alternative treatments no longer help alleviate symptoms for the patient, minimally invasive surgery is a great option. Conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, or spondylolisthesis can often be treated by a minimally invasive procedure.


Signs That You May Need an OLIF

Signs you may have a spinal condition requiring OLIF include low back pain, numbness or weakness in the legs.

An orthopedist may recommend nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy or injections before surgery. If nonsurgical treatment methods do not work, your spine specialist may discuss OLIF as a treatment option with you.


Is OLIF Safe for Geriatric Patients?

Since OLIF is a minimally invasive procedure, this is a safe and effective surgery for elderly patients. The recovery time is quick which makes it easier for geriatric patients to get back to their daily activities.


How Can I Prepare for OLIF?

Make Your Home More Accessable.

Before surgery, we recommend making your home more assessable.

Put highly used items within reach makes all the difference when recovering from surgery. Items such as plates, cups, pans, phones, or remotes at torso level can prevent injury post op. If you are on bedrest, make sure all items are nearby for after surgery.

Investing in a “grabber” may also help make your home more assessable and easier to reach items that may be dropped.

Do Your Research.

Educating yourself about the procedure before surgery will help put your mind at ease. If you are aware of things like anesthesia and pain medication side effects, post op anxiety is less likely to occur.

Get Tools That May Help.

In the first few days after surgery going to the bathroom may be difficult. A toilet riser elevates the seat making it easier to sit down and get up after surgery.


What Does Recovery Look Like?

Patients are up and walking the day of surgery! There are lifting restrictions for several months after surgery with a typical return to sport and activities in just three months.

You may be able to regain some of your day-to-day activities prior to that.

Each recovery is different, so be sure to ask your back doctor and physical therapist what your own journey will look like.


What are Alternative Treatments for Back Surgery?

Our spine specialists view surgery as a last resort when other treatment methods will not help.

Some alternative options we prescribe are physical therapy, dry needling, medication, and injections. When these options fail, our orhtopedic surgeons will determine the best treatment plan and prepare you for surgery.


If you or someone or know is suffering from back pain, you may need to see an orthopedic back doctor. Our spine specialists in Nashville, TN are fellowship-trained with many years of experience and accolades.

They also stay up to date with the latest advancements in spine surgery like the oblique lumbar interbody fusion procedure.

Dr. Colin Crosby performs OLIF surgery and has seen firsthand how effective this surgery can be. If you would like more information about this procedure or need to be evaluated for spine pain, you can request an appointment with Dr. Crosby.

Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassie-whittaker-802a3b173

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