What Is Posterior Lumbar Decompression & Fusion?

Posterior lumbar decompression and fusion (PLDF) is a surgical procedure that aims to relieve pain and pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves in the lower back. The lower back is made up of the lumbar spine, where the spine curves inward toward the abdomen. It consists of the five vertebrae, L1-L5. They end in the sacral region, which connects the lumbar spine with the tailbone. Because they bear the most weight, the lowest two vertebrae in the lumbar spine, L4 and L5, are most prone to degradation and injury and are the most often fused.

There are two major parts of this spinal fusion. The first being the bony portion of the fusion. This consists of a combination of bone from the bone bank and local bone from the area of the spinal decompression. In a majority of cases, Doctors do not take a bone graft from the patient’s iliac crest (hip area), which means you will not have a separate incision. Bone growth is stimulated and then the grafts are put into place. This fuses the vertebrae and stops the painful movement in the area. The second component of the fusion is the instrumentation. The instrumentation may be rods and screws and/or a cage that is placed between the vertebrae.