Expert Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) in Paducah, KY

Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) is a cutting-edge, minimally invasive surgical technique that Dr. K. Brandon Strenge specializes in at his practice, Strenge Spine Center, located in Paducah, Kentucky. This advanced procedure offers numerous benefits for patients suffering from various spinal conditions affecting the lower back.  Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) is used to treat various degenerative spinal conditions affecting the lumbar (lower back) region, such as spinal instability, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal compressing nerves), scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), particularly adult degenerative scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, low-grade spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage), adjacent segment degeneration (after previous spinal fusion), pseudarthrosis (failed previous fusion), and conversion from total disc arthroplasty.

Understanding Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF)

Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) is a minimally invasive approach used to treat spinal instability and conditions such as degenerative disc disease. LLIF involves accessing the spine through a small incision on the side of the body (i.e., lateral), allowing for precise insertion of an interbody spacer into the damaged disc space. The spacer restores disc height and provides a stable platform for fusion of the vertebrae, alleviating pain and restoring proper spinal alignment. the lateral approach allows for excellent visualization and access to the spine, enabling Dr. Strenge to perform the procedure with precision and accuracy. One of the key advantages of LLIF is its minimally disruptive nature. By avoiding the need for large muscle dissection or retraction, as in traditional open surgeries, LLIF results in less soft tissue trauma, reduced blood loss, and faster recovery times for patients.

Minimized Muscle Damage

The lateral approach in LLIF allows Dr. Strenge to access the spine through a small incision on the patient’s side, avoiding the need for extensive muscle dissection and retraction required in posterior spinal fusion techniques. This minimizes trauma to the large back muscles, resulting in less postoperative pain, reduced risk of muscle injury or denervation, and faster recovery times for patients.

Enhanced Recovery

Due to the minimally invasive nature of LLIF, patients typically experience a shorter hospital stay of 1-2 days compared to open surgeries. The reduced soft tissue disruption also allows for a quicker rehabilitation process. Many patients can return to light activities within 2-3 weeks after LLIF, while return to more strenuous work or high-impact activities is often permitted around 8-12 weeks, once adequate fusion has occurred.

Increased Safety

By accessing the spine from the side, LLIF avoids the need to retract the nerve roots or dural sac, as is required in posterior approaches like TLIF or PLIF. This lateral trajectory significantly reduces the risk of direct nerve injury or dural tears, enhancing patient safety. Additionally, the lateral approach provides an excellent visualization of the disc space, allowing for precise implant placement and reducing the risk of complications like implant malposition.

Dr. Strenge’s Approach to LLIF

At Strenge Spine Center in Paducah, KY, Dr. K. Brandon Strenge takes a patient-centered approach to Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) surgery, ensuring each patient receives personalized care tailored to their unique needs. His commitment to patient education is unwavering, as he takes the time to thoroughly explain the procedure, address concerns, and involve patients in the decision-making process.

Dr. Strenge’s expertise extends beyond his extensive training and experience in minimally invasive spine surgery. He is dedicated to utilizing the most advanced techniques and state-of-the-art technologies available in the field. This includes leveraging cutting-edge imaging systems like the EOSedge, which provides high-quality 3D imaging and data-informed software solutions for precise surgical planning and monitoring of outcomes.

Furthermore, Dr. Strenge has access to a wide range of cutting-edge spinal implants and instrumentation from leading manufacturers, ensuring he can employ the most appropriate tools and technologies to optimize surgical outcomes for each patient’s unique condition. His commitment to innovation is evident through his role as a principal investigator for several clinical research trials exploring new treatments such as artificial disc replacements, minimally invasive fusion implants, and synthetic bone graft substitutes.

By combining a patient-centered approach with advanced techniques and technologies, Dr. Strenge provides comprehensive, personalized care for patients undergoing LLIF surgery at Strenge Spine Center. His dedication to patient education, open communication, and the pursuit of innovative solutions ensures that each individual receives the highest quality care tailored to their specific needs and goals.

Preparing for Surgery

Consultation Process

  • During the consultation process for Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) surgery, patients can expect the following:
  • Patient History: The surgeon will review your medical history, symptoms, and any previous treatments or surgeries.
  • Physical Examination: A thorough physical exam will be performed to assess your condition, range of motion, and neurological function.
  • Diagnostic Imaging: Imaging studies like X-rays, MRI, or CT scans will be ordered to evaluate the extent of spinal degeneration, instability, or deformity. These images help the surgeon plan the surgical approach and levels to be treated.
  • Discussion of Treatment Options: The surgeon will explain the various treatment options, including non-surgical alternatives like physical therapy, injections, or medications. If surgery is recommended, the risks, benefits, and expected outcomes of LLIF will be discussed in detail.
  • Obtaining Consent: Once you understand the procedure and have had all your questions answered, you will be asked to provide informed consent for the LLIF surgery.

Pre-Surgery Checklist

To prepare for LLIF surgery and ensure the best possible outcomes, patients should follow this checklist:

  • Medical Clearance: Obtain medical clearance from your primary care physician or any relevant specialists, ensuring you are fit for surgery.
  • Medication Management: Discuss all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies with your surgeon. You may need to stop certain medications before surgery, such as blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Smoking Cessation: Stop smoking and using tobacco products at least 6 weeks before and after surgery, as smoking can impair bone healing and fusion.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Increase your intake of protein-rich foods and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to aid in recovery.
  • Home Preparation: Arrange for assistance from a caregiver or family member during the initial recovery period. Install handrails, raised toilet seats, and clear pathways for safety.
  • Transportation: Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital or surgery center, as you will not be permitted to drive yourself home after the procedure.
  • Pre-operative Instructions: Follow all pre-operative instructions provided by your surgeon, such as fasting guidelines, showering with antibacterial soap, and packing necessary items for your hospital stay.

By thoroughly preparing for the consultation and following the pre-surgery guidelines, patients can ensure they are ready for the LLIF procedure and set themselves up for a successful recovery.

Recovery and Success

Postoperative Care

After undergoing Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) surgery, patients receive comprehensive postoperative care and support to manage pain and promote mobility during the recovery process:

  • Pain Management: Patients are prescribed appropriate pain medications to alleviate discomfort and muscle spasms in the initial postoperative period. Multimodal analgesia, including non-opioid options, may be utilized to optimize pain control while minimizing side effects.
  • Mobility and Rehabilitation: Early mobilization is encouraged, with patients typically able to walk with assistance on the same day as surgery. A graduated rehabilitation program is implemented, focusing on:
    • Gentle range-of-motion exercises to prevent stiffness
    • Gradual progression of activity levels under guidance
    • Strengthening exercises to improve core and back muscle strength
  • Bracing: Patients may be advised to wear a lumbar brace or orthosis for a period of time (typically 6-12 weeks) to provide stability and support during the initial fusion process.
  • Follow-up Monitoring: Regular follow-up appointments are scheduled to monitor the patient’s progress, assess fusion healing through imaging (X-rays, CT scans), and adjust the rehabilitation plan as needed.
  • Patient Education: Comprehensive patient education is provided on proper body mechanics, activity modifications, and precautions to follow during the recovery period to ensure optimal fusion and prevent complications.

Long-Term Benefits

LLIF offers several long-term benefits and stability advantages compared to traditional open spinal fusion techniques:

  • Improved Fusion Rates: Studies have shown that LLIF achieves high fusion rates, with some reports indicating rates comparable to or better than other interbody fusion techniques like ALIF or TLIF.
  • Restoration of Spinal Alignment: By accessing the spine laterally, LLIF allows for effective restoration of proper spinal alignment, disc height, and lumbar lordosis (curvature), which can alleviate pain and improve overall spinal biomechanics.
  • Indirect Decompression: The insertion of the interbody spacer and restoration of disc height indirectly decompresses the spinal cord and nerve roots, providing long-term relief from symptoms like radiating leg pain or numbness.
  • Stability and Durability: The use of interbody cages or spacers, combined with supplemental posterior instrumentation (pedicle screws and rods), provides robust stabilization and long-term durability of the fusion construct.
  • Improved Quality of Life: By addressing the underlying spinal pathology, restoring stability, and alleviating pain, patients who undergo LLIF often experience significant improvements in their overall quality of life, mobility, and functional capacity in the long term.

While the initial recovery period after LLIF may involve activity restrictions and a gradual rehabilitation process, the long-term benefits of this minimally invasive fusion technique, including improved fusion rates, restored spinal alignment, and indirect decompression, contribute to lasting spinal stability and an enhanced quality of life for patients.

Why Choose Dr. Strenge for Your LLIF in Paducah?

When considering Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) surgery in Paducah, KY, there are compelling reasons to choose Dr. K. Brandon Strenge at Strenge Spine Center for this advanced procedure:

Local Expertise
As a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon based in Paducah, Dr. Strenge has established himself as a leading local expert in minimally invasive spine surgery techniques like LLIF. His extensive training and focus on these cutting-edge approaches, combined with his experience performing hundreds of complex spinal procedures, make him uniquely qualified to deliver exceptional care close to home.

Specialization in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Dr. Strenge’s practice at Strenge Spine Center is dedicated to minimally invasive spinal surgery and motion-preserving procedures for cervical and lumbar spine disorders. This specialization ensures that patients receive care from a surgeon who is well-versed in the latest minimally invasive techniques, including LLIF, and can leverage this expertise to optimize surgical outcomes.

State-of-the-Art Facilities and Technology
Strenge Spine Center is equipped with advanced imaging systems like the EOSedge, which provides high-quality 3D imaging and data-informed software solutions for precise surgical planning and monitoring of outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Strenge has access to a wide range of cutting-edge spinal implants and instrumentation from leading manufacturers, ensuring he can utilize the most appropriate tools and technologies for each patient’s unique needs.

Commitment to Innovation and Research
As a principal investigator for several clinical research trials, Dr. Strenge stays at the forefront of spinal healthcare innovation. His involvement in exploring new treatments like artificial disc replacements, minimally invasive fusion implants, and synthetic bone graft substitutes demonstrates his dedication to advancing the field and providing patients with the latest and most effective treatment options.

By choosing Dr. Strenge for your LLIF procedure in Paducah, you can benefit from his local expertise, specialization in minimally invasive spine surgery, access to state-of-the-art facilities and technology, and commitment to innovation and research-driven care. This combination of factors positions him as a top choice for those seeking exceptional spinal care in the Paducah region.

Schedule Your Consultation with the Strenge Spine Center Today!

If you’re suffering from debilitating back pain, spinal instability, or other degenerative conditions affecting your lumbar spine, it’s time to take action and explore your treatment options with Dr. K. Brandon Strenge at the Strenge Spine Center in Paducah, KY.As a leading expert in minimally invasive spine surgery, Dr. Strenge specializes in advanced procedures like Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF), which can effectively stabilize the spine, restore proper alignment, and alleviate symptoms caused by compression or instability. With his patient-centered approach, Dr. Strenge will take the time to understand your unique condition, clearly explain your treatment options, and develop a personalized plan tailored to your needs and goals.

Don’t let chronic back pain or spinal issues continue to impact your quality of life. Take the first step towards a pain-free future by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Strenge today.

Contact the Strenge Spine Center at:

Phone: (270) 228 – 3973
Address: 2603 Kentucky Ave. STE 102

The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Strenge Spine Center will be happy to answer any questions you may have and assist you in scheduling your consultation with Dr. Strenge. During your appointment, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your symptoms, medical history, and treatment options in detail, ensuring you receive the highest quality care and the best possible outcomes.

Regain your mobility, alleviate your pain, and embrace a future filled with improved spinal health and overall well-being. Call the Strenge Spine Center now and discover how Dr. Strenge’s expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery, including LLIF, can transform your life.


How long does recovery typically take after an LLIF procedure?

The typical recovery time after a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) procedure is:

  • Return to light desk job or household activities: 2-3 weeks

  • Return to more strenuous work or high-impact activities: 8-12 weeks, once cleared by the surgeon

  • Overall recovery period: Around 12 weeks, but patients continue to heal for up to 1 year as the bones fuse together

Are there any lasting restrictions after undergoing LLIF?

No, typically there are no major lasting restrictions after undergoing a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) procedure.

What is the success rate of LLIF compared to other spinal fusion methods?

It is difficult to compare spinal fusion approaches because each is best suited to treat different pathologies and different parts of the lumbar spine. That said, LLIF, TLIF, OLIF, and ALIF yield similar fusion success rates. LLIF is best for treating T12 to L4 levels. LLIF may be superior to TLIF in length of stay, opioid use, and pain reduction.

What specific precautions should be taken before and after LLIF surgery?

Some key precautions that should be taken before and after Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) surgery:

  • Stop taking blood thinners like aspirin, NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen), and anticoagulants (Plavix, Coumadin) for the recommended period before surgery, as instructed by Dr. Strenge. This reduces bleeding risk during the procedure. Otherwise, continue to take your medicines as prescribed.

  • Follow preoperative instructions carefully, including fasting guidelines, showering with chlorhexidine wash, and packing necessary items for the hospital stay.

  • Stop smoking and using any tobacco products at least 6 weeks before surgery, as smoking can impair bone healing and fusion.

  • Arrange for a responsible adult to drive you home and for someone to care for you at home.

When is LLIF the recommended choice for spinal surgery?

LLIF is one of the best treatment choices when conservative treatments fail and artificial disc replacement is not possible. Some key indications where Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) may be recommended include spinal instability, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal compressing nerves), degenerative scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, low-grade spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage), adjacent segment degeneration after previous spinal fusion, and pseudarthrosis (failed previous fusion

How do I choose the best surgeon for LLIF?

When choosing the best surgeon for a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) procedure, it's crucial to consider their experience and expertise as a fellowship-trained spine surgeon specializing in minimally invasive techniques like LLIF, with high case volumes and potential involvement in research or clinical trials. Review their success rates, patient satisfaction scores, and complication rates, aiming for lower complication rates and good radiographic outcomes like sagittal vertical axis (SVA) correction. Choose a surgeon using advanced imaging/navigation technologies, and dedicated spine surgery teams for comprehensive perioperative care. Choose a surgeon who takes a patient-centered approach, thoroughly understands your condition, clearly explains procedures, involves you in decision-making, focuses on patient education, open communication, and personalized treatment plans. By considering these factors, you can increase your chances of finding the most qualified and experienced surgeon to perform your LLIF procedure safely and successfully.




IDEAL Symposium in Dallas

On May 17-18, Dr. Strenge participated in the IDEAL Symposium in Dallas, TX. Dr. Strenge discussed the Barricaid procedure to prevent re-herniation and re-operation after a disc herniation procedure.

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