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I am wondering if anyone knows...

LoLLo Posts: 694
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
The technical name for my surgery. I have heard a few different names, but I don't know what it's actually called.

They went in through the front, and did a radical discectomy at L4-L5 (the entire disc, because I herniated it twice), through about a 6 inch incision. They screwed in plastic cages with BMP. Then from the back through 4 incisions, they put in the 4 screws and 2 rods. Two incisions at the top are an inch each, and then I have two 3 inch diagonal incisions at the bottom. They used staples in the back and internal stitches in the front. My first surgery they did the MicroD a little to the right of my spine, so I don't know if that's why she did the bottom incisions for my fusion diagonally, but I haven't found anything through search engines about it. And it isn't laproscopic, or the incisions wouldn't be 3 inches each...The only reason they didn't have to make one incision in the middle is because they already removed the disc and inserted the cages from the front... So there is no need to. Combining all 4 of my back incisions together, it's about 8 inches, which is pretty much like breaking up a regular PLIF incision into 4 pieces, Lol. SO, I don't really know what the deal is. Lol. I just want to know what it's called. People ask me all the time (in reality, not message board world haha), and I don't know what to tell them without having to explain... Which gets old. I'd LOVE to find just a regular old simple term.

I would appreciate any input. I don't mean this in a rude way at all, but if the only input you have is "ask your doctor" then please just don't bother replying. While I do appreciate and respect the suggestions and replies of others, something like that is a given. I'm not dumb, I know I can ask my doctor. And when I see her next month, I plan to ask her. Lol. But in the meantime, I just wanted to see if anyone else knew, and asking can't hurt.

Thanks :)


  • Hey Lil Lo, what did your operative permit say? That should be the technical name for it. They are suppose to give you a copy. I keep seeing it called a 360 degree fusion on here. Did she use the sextant system possibly? Although I think the incisions on back would have been smaller with that. You are the only one I know who has these 4 incisions on the back. So sorry not much help. I know mine was called a Left L4-5 Polar with posteriorlateral fusion and instrumentation. I did get an interbody cage so where was that mentioned? No where. Perhaps the op permit won't be of much help :/
    >:D< Sue
  • She said the screws were Sextant, but I did research on the Sextant SYSTEM, and the holes were SMALL and vertical OR horizontal... Not diagonal and big. So, I don't know what the heck it is. Lol. Mine just said something about Radical Discectomy and ALIF and some other junk. I didn't get any paperwork to bring home with any info on it. I got 2 plastic cages screwed in, I know that much. And I know there are rods and screws in the back, and she removed my herniation on the nerve from the front when she removed my entire disc... But I didn't even know I was getting staples in the back. I thought I was gonna have glue. She said I'd have 4 small holes with glue, but she said she might not be able to just go through and put the screws in through tiny holes and have to make regular cuts. She said judging by my x-rays getting them through the tiny holes should be no problem. But apparently it was... Lol. Yeah, I don't know anyone else who had 4 back incisions with 2 small vertical and 2 bigger diagonal. I'm a weirdo. Hahaha.
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  • From what you have described I doubt there is a single name for your surgery at all, as you have had a combination of several techniques - Radical Discectomy, ALIF, and....

    Be interested to know what you find out tho...
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • My surgeon describes the same procedure to me as ALIF - majority of work is thru the front, then hardware thru small incisions thru the back. Advantage is supposed to be that they don't need to cut thru muscle in the back, they can push it aside thru these small incisions. I guess its the same in the front (preservation of muscle, no cutting).

    Also curious to hear what your surgeon says...
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • They didn't do small laproscopic incisions, though, that's the thing. 2 of them are tiny, but the other 2 are not even close. Think about it... Some people's PLIF incisions are 4-5 inches, and I have 2 diagonal 3 inch incisions.... That's not microscopic, and the back muscles don't run diagonal, so... I dunno. And when I research ALIF ANYWHERE it never says anything about hardware through the back. Ever. ALWAYS talks about hardware through the front. Kind of lame. Lol. I mean, I'm glad I don't have the hardware in the front, and the way she did the surgery is EXACTLY the way I would have preferred it, for the benefits of ALIF (more space for fusion, higher success rate) but the hardware through the back, since I heard negative things about it being done through the front. I also wanted the plastic cages with BMP... Cause I didn't want autograft or allograft. So basically, I'm very, VERY happy about her choice of surgery for me, and I am EXTREMELY pleased with the results, just wish there were a simpler term. Lol.
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  • After my surgery, I wasn't sure what it was called either. I simply called my surgeons PA and she told me all about it. I didn't have to talk with the dr. I know you're not dumb, but just a suggestion, ok?
  • Are probably right. Most people I have talked to did not realize that for most fusions, they don't remove the ENTIRE disc, just most of it. On top of that, I had a herniation they also had to remove which extended the surgery. That's why she did the radical discectomy, actually.

    I will def let you know what I find out!
  • my thoughts are most people wouldn't understand the technical terms. so when I was asked, I explained in a very basic way: had two bad discs taken out, had some kind of bone put in, 6 screws in 3 vertebrae & 2 rods to hold it all in place. now the bone/cement type thing needs to harden and voila-- think Bionic Woman.
    I had 4 things done to me. don't remember, and don't think anyone would either-- much less understand! so maybe you can come up with a short summary like mine. I do have the 4 things written down somewhere, but really, I don't think most of the population out there wants the technical terms. they just kinda wanna understand. and then they cringe and make a painful face. ha
  • Hi,
    I don't know for sure what it's called. I always say anterior posterior lumbar fusion. I also have 4 small scars on my back. Mine are smaller than that though. They are more like one inch. I think I'm probably calling it the wrong name though...You are not alone in your confusion!
  • Hi,
    I don't know for sure what it's called. I always say anterior posterior lumbar fusion. I also have 4 small scars on my back. Mine are smaller than that though. They are more like one inch. I think I'm probably calling it the wrong name though...You are not alone in your confusion!
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