Open Accessibility Menu

Benefits of Oblique Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (OLLIF)

  • Category: Back Surgery
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: DR. HAMID ABBASI

Oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion (OLLIF) is a minimally invasive keyhole procedure used to achieve lumbar vertebrae spine fusion. Unlike other spinal fusion procedures, OLLIF is performed as an outpatient surgery for many people. Here are the many benefits of the oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion procedure.

No. 1: It is a Non-Traditional Approach

The OLLIF procedure is performed via a small 1 ½ centimeter incision on the patient’s side. Because the lateral approach involves a small incision, there is less scarring and pain. In addition, the surgeon does not have to move healthy bone structures, nerve bundles, or major muscle groups.

No. 2: Access Granted

The OLLIF is a simple, effective approach to spinal fusion. A small probe is used to dilate the muscles and nerves so the surgeon can access and removed the disease or damaged disc and bone components.

No. 3: Implant Material and Bone Graft Provides Stability

With the oblique lateral lumbar fusion procedure, a biocompatible polymer implant is used to fill the empty space where the diseased disc once was. In addition, the surgeon uses a bone graft (from the patient) to fill the space and fuse the vertebrae together.

No. 4: Proven Stable and Strong

One the adjacent vertebrae are joined together using OLLIF, a solid bridge of new bone mass forms, making the fusion process complete. This procedure provides a stable and strongly fused spine, so there is no chance of collapse or further operating.

No. 5: Relieves Back Pain

The oblique lateral lumbar fusion procedure alleviates severe and chronic back pain by reestablishing correct disc height. This stops movement of the spine. Every back pain patient’s medical needs are unique and different, so the OLLIF is available to patients who are considering lumbar spine surgery.

No. 6: Fewer Risks and Complications

The OLLIF has fewer risks and complications than other spinal fusion procedures. With this technique, there is less blood loss, smaller incisions, a more convenient environment, and a shorter recovery time.

No. 7: Early Mobility

Because oblique lateral lumbar fusion procedures are minimally invasive keyhole, patients are able to get up sooner, walk around better, and return home quicker. OLLIF is done on an outpatient basis, which allows for the patient to be discharged the same day.

No. 8: Is a Common Surgery

Because the OLLIF is a commonly performed spinal procedure, the surgeons are experts in technique, which means less complications and risks for you. In the U.S. alone, over 400,000 spine fusion surgeries are done every year. Thanks to new technologies and improved devices, patients have improved outcomes.

No. 9: Treats a variety of Back Conditions

The OLLIF is used to treat spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease. It can provide access to most levels of the lower back (lumbar) region, and is suitable for many spinal fusion candidates.

No. 10: It Works

Surgery for lumbar degenerative spinal disease was evaluated in a recent prospective study. Researchers followed patients who had oblique lateral interbody fusion surgery for degenerative spinal disease, and assessed the patients before and 6 months after surgery. According to study results, all patients had improved pain scores compared to before surgery. In addition, not one person had to have revision surgery following OLLIF.


Ohtori S, Orita S, Yamauchi K, et al. (2015). Mini-Open Anterior Retroperitoneal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Oblique Lateral Interbody Fusion for Lumbar Spinal Degeneration Disease. Yonsei Med J, 56(4), 1051-1059.