STALIF: Stand Alone Lumbar Interbody Fusion


For patients with certain conditions, abnormal and excessive motion at a vertebral segment may result in pain. When this abnormal motion from an unstable or degenerated vertebral segment causes unnecessary pain, Dr. Pablo Pazmino may recommend an all Anterior approach to decrease pain at this area. The latest stand-alone anterior lumbar fusion cage implant used in spinal surgery from Surgicraft is manufactured from biocompatible polyetheretherketone (PEEK-OPTIMA, Invibio Ltd, Thornton, UK). The benefits this implant offers include reduced operating times, better bone fusion, restoration of height, and improved spinal alignment. In mechanics, Young's modulus (E) is a measure of the stiffness of a given material. The Young's Modulus of PEEK is similar to that of cortical bone, therefore, it offers more elasticity than metal. It can absorb energy, handle the normal weight of the body and minimize stress on adjacent levels. The material is also radiolucent (unseen on X-rays) and thereby allows an improved view of the fusion mass that is taking place. However, to be able to offer X-ray (computer tomography or magnetic resonance) imaging for optimal positioning and postoperative assessments, titanium trace wires are press fitted into the implant. Recovery for the patient is faster in many cases. Some patients need to be operated on from the back. However, the implant can be inserted through the patient's stomach where reconstructing the spine is much less invasive. Some patients only need a small incision from the front or side, and in these cases recovery can be rapid, requiring only a two- or four-day hospital stay followed by a period of recuperation to allow for fusion to occur. Immobilizing painful movement in a specific area of the lumbar spine should decrease pain generated from the degenerated discs and arthritic joints. All lumbar spinal fusion surgery involves adding bone graft, or bone graft substitutes which stimulate a biological response that causes the nearby bone to weld or fuse. Upon successful fusion, the two vertebral segments stop all painful motion, and patients can return to their activities of daily living.