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AxiaLIF® means Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion. It is an alternative to traditional open and minimally invasive low back surgery performed to treat degenerative disc disease (DDD), spinal stenosis, or low-grade spondylolisthesis at L5-S1. In some patients, these disorders may lead to spinal instability and pain. The procedure involves implanting the AxiaLIF device (a short threaded rod) after the center of the disc is removed from between the last lumbar vertebra and the sacrum (L5-S1).

AxiaLIF provides anterior spinal stabilization – that means the spine is immobilized at the front of the spine. It can be combined with posterior fusion; that means using instrumentation (screws and rods) implanted in the back of the spine.

What is L5-S1?

The low back consists of bones, discs, nerves, ligaments, and other soft tissues. There are 5 bones called vertebral bodies in the lumbar spine. These bones are abbreviated L1 (top) through L5 (bottom). Immediately below the last lumbar vertebral body is the sacrum; a part of the pelvis. The disc levels also are abbreviated. For example, L5-S1 refers to the intervertebral disc between the fifth vertebral body and the first sacral level.


About the AxiaLIF Procedure

Axial lumbar interbody fusion is performed under general anesthesia. The low back area is cleansed and prepared for surgery. A one-inch incision is made next to the tailbone. Through the incision, special instruments are guided by surgical imaging techniques and the center of the disc is removed. Bone graft fills the vacant disc space. The AxiaLIF device, a short threaded rod, is implanted upward and restores lost disc height and stabilizes the spine.

Types of Bone Graft

  • Autograft is the patient’s own bone; usually taken from the hip.
  • Allograft is donor bone from a bone bank.
  • Bone graft substitute; there are different types, some of which are synthetic (man-made) and available in different shapes.

After Surgery

After surgery, the patient is moved into the recovery area. In recovery, nurses and other members of the medical team closely monitor the patient’s vital signs – pulse, respiration, blood pressure, and pain. Some post-operative pain should be expected and patients receive pain medication either through their IV (intravenous line) or by mouth. Many patients go home the same day or day after surgery. Dr. Stieber discusses the likelihood of hospitalization with patients before their surgery date.

After Care at Home

Dr. Stieber provides AxiaLIF patients with information about what to expect and self-care after hospital discharge. This information includes instructions to control pain, medications, diet and managing constipation, bathing and incision care, activity restrictions, and the surgical follow-up appointments. As always, Dr. Stieber and his staff welcome questions and ensure that all patient concerns are thoroughly addressed.

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Dear Patients:

Our patients' health and safety is our number one priority. Our office continues to be open for all email, telephone, and online inquiries. You can call us at 646-916-3962 or contact us via email to schedule your virtual telemedicine or in-person visit. Our doctors will be holding regular office hours for virtual video consultations and follow-up visits that permit you to stay in the comfort of your own home, utilizing your computer, tablet, or mobile device.

Additionally, we will continue to see select patients in the office for consultation and follow-up visits, including preoperative and postoperative appointments. Our doctors continue to perform procedures in our private, free-standing surgery center that offers an array of outpatient surgical services to treat spinal issues such as acute back pain, disc herniations, sciatica, and pinched nerves in the back or neck. We are also able to offer clean and efficient on-site x-ray capabilities in our office.

Please know that we join our community in taking all advised precautions* to limit the spread of the Coronavirus and ensure the safety of patients and staff.

Call today to schedule a consultation and explore your options with the Spine Center at OrthoManhattan.

The following precautionary measures have been established to ensure the safest environment possible:

  • All patients are screened both prior to and on the day of their office appointment. Patients will not be permitted in the office and will be asked to reschedule their appointment if:
    • You or anyone in your household are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, or shortness of breath.
    • You have been in contact with anybody who has tested positive for coronavirus or have traveled (both domestically and internationally) within the last 14 days.
  • We have updated our patient and visitor policies:
    • Only a limited number of patients will be permitted on the office hour schedule.
    • No additional visitors or family members are allowed to accompany the patient during their office visit, unless the patient is in need of an aide or a translator
    • Infants, children, and adolescents are asked to stay home and will not be permitted to accompany the patient to their appointment.

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