Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Glossary

ALIF: Anterior lumbar interbody fusion; a type of spine surgery that's done from your front; often used to fuse L5-S1.

GlossaryAllograft: Bone graft taken from a donor's body.

Anterior: From the front side.

Annulus Fibrosis: The tough outer layer of an intervertebral disc.

Autograft: Bone graft taken from your own body.

AxiaLIF: Axial lumbar interbody fusion; a type of spine surgery that's performed through the sacrum along the axis (line of your spine) at the L5-S1 disc space; used to restore disc height and to stabilize your spine.

Biologic Substances: Man-made bone graft substitutes (eg, bone morphogenetic protein).

Bone Graft: A substance that facilitates fusion between your vertebrae (can be created with actual bone or a biologic substance).

Decompression: A type of spine surgery that takes pressure off (decompresses) your spinal cord and/or nerve roots; surgeon will remove parts of your spine that are pressing on nerves and causing pain or other symptoms.

Discectomy: A type of spine surgery that involves the total removal of your intervertebral disc.

Endoscope: Tiny video camera used during spine surgery that passes through small surgical incisions.

Endoscopic: A type of minimally invasive spine surgery that uses an endoscope to pass through small surgical incisions (usually less than 2 cm) to access your spine; guides surgeons by showing them an internal view of your body on screens in the operating room.

Facet Joint: Link your vertebrae at the back of your spine and help facilitate movement; each vertebra has 2 sets of facet joints—one pair is superior (faces upward) and one pair is inferior (faces downward).

Facet Screw: A type of spinal instrumentation used during facet fusion to stabilize your spine; screws can be threaded or smooth.

Fluoroscope: A type of x-ray used to guide your surgeon during your procedure.

Foramen: Literally means opening; located on the sides of your spine, where nerves exit the spinal cord and travel to other parts of your body.

Foraminotomy: A type of decompression spine surgery that expands the space or opening—called a foramen—where your spinal nerve roots exit your spine.

Intervertebral Disc: Pillow-like cushions between each of your vertebra that act as shock absorbers and help you move.

Intervertebral Fusion Cage: A small cage that's shaped like a hollow cylinder and made of plastic polymer, bone, or titanium used to restore disc height; usually filled with bone graft during spine surgery to promote the fusion process.

Lamina: A bony part of your spine that makes up part of your spinal canal; the "roof" of your spine.

Laminectomy: A type of spine surgery that involves the total removal of the lamina.

Laminotomy: A type of spine surgery that removes part of the lamina.

Lateral: From the side.

LLIF: Lateral lumbar interbody fusion; a type of spine surgery done from your side; also known as transpsoas interbody fusion, direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF), and eXtreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF).

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: A type of spine surgery that uses advanced, computer-assisted technology and highly specialized tools and provides patients with a quicker recovery after surgery, less post-operative pain, and smaller incisions than traditional open spine surgery.

Mini-open Spine Surgery: A type of spine surgery that's similar to open spine surgery but has fewer risks, such as less blood loss during surgery and less risk of infection because the incision is smaller.

Nucleus Pulposus: The gel-like center of an intervertebral disc.

Osteoporosis: A disease that affects your bones, making them weaker and more prone to breaking.

Pedicle: Stem-like structures that form part of your spinal canal; the side walls of the canal.

Pedicle Screw: A type of spinal instrumentation that's inserted via your pedicle and into your vertebral body; can be threaded or smooth.

Peritoneum: A sac that holds your intestines and abdominal organs.

PLIF: Posterior lumbar interbody fusion; a type of spine surgery where your surgeon makes incisions on your back that line up with your spinous processes.

Posterior: From the back side.

Rectus Abdominis: The abdominal muscle that runs vertically in the center of your stomach.

Spinal Fusion: A surgical technique used to join 2 or more vertebrae; bone graft is often used to fuse vertebrae together.

Spinous Processes: Thin, bony projections on the back of your spine.

Spinous Process Plate: A type of spinal instrumentation (typically made of titanium) used to help stabilize your spine, usually due to spinal trauma or deformities.

TLIF: Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; a type of spine surgery where your surgeon makes incisions that line up with your foramen, and operates on your spine through these incisions.

Tubular: A type of minimally invasive spine surgery that involves a tubular retractor, which acts as a tunnel that passes through your back muscles to access your spine.

X-STOP: A type of spine surgery that involves an implant (called an X-STOP spacer) made of titanium alloy; implant is used as a lumbar spacer and is inserted between 2 of your spinous processes.

Updated on: 01/08/16
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What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
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What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is an attractive option for patients who want a quicker recovery after surgery, less post-operative pain, and smaller incisions.
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