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Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. Aug 29, 2022 2:37:55 PM 3 min read

Wenzel Spine Announces the Launch of the S-LIF Procedure: Prioritizing Surgical Minimalism for Outpatient Spine Fusion

AUSTIN, Texas--()--Wenzel Spine, Inc., a medical technology company focused on providing minimally invasive surgical and diagnostic solutions for the treatment of spinal disorders, today announced the launch of the S-LIF Procedure for Stand-alone Lumbar Interbody Fusion using the VariLift®-LX device, the only stand-alone expandable posterior lumbar interbody fusion device that is FDA-cleared for 1 or 2 level fusion. In addition, Wenzel recently held its first S-LIF Training Lab in Austin, Texas in August to give surgeons the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with this practice-differentiating procedure and explore new ways they can prioritize surgical minimalism for appropriate patients in their practice.

“Using this device to restore height and alignment and stabilize the weak joint, I feel very strongly that I'm fixing the root cause, and having an outpatient lumbar fusion surgery option really gives patients hope.”

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William Wilson, newly appointed CEO of Wenzel Spine, noted, “Surgeons came to the lab with the question, ‘If I'm doing a least-invasive surgery and not incorporating screws and rods, how can I have confidence knowing that this technology will lead to strong, stable fusion for my patients?’ It was validating to watch them leave feeling excited, saying, ‘I can't wait to start using this more and more in my practice.’”

Participating in the training was Ahmer Ghori, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Fort Wayne, Indiana, who has done 50+ "Awake Fusion" procedures with Wenzel’s VariLift. He stated, “Increasingly, surgeons are asking, ‘What is the least invasive spine surgery that I can do for this patient?’ The VariLift device has allowed me to operate on some patients on an outpatient basis, usually using a local spinal anesthetic; and with the correct anesthesia plan, they have reasonable pain control to where they can go home and return to their lives sooner than if they had undergone a much bigger operation.”

But oftentimes, surgeons think that using a stand-alone device might lead to subsidence, or question whether the simplified construct will eventually fail.

Not so, says Michael Weiss, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in Boca Raton, Florida. "When you insert the device, screw it into place, expand it, and hear the mechanism pulling those bones apart, you see and feel the results. They don't subside. They give you excellent bone graft abilities. And after you’ve done a few of these, you then get the confidence that, ‘I don’t need all that posterior fixation,’ because the anterior column, when that's solid, it’s solid and your spine is stable. So, if you are worried that this is not enough, you can allay those fears, because it is.”

Another Surgeon Faculty member, Adam Kremer, M.D., a neurosurgeon in Bay City, Michigan, agrees saying, “Using this device to restore height and alignment and stabilize the weak joint, I feel very strongly that I'm fixing the root cause, and having an outpatient lumbar fusion surgery option really gives patients hope.”

As spinal fusion procedures continue to migrate to the ASC and outpatient environments, the S-LIF Procedure is positioned as an ideal complement for the right patient. And with more research and validation emerging around the use of local spinal anesthetic for fusion procedures, a stand-alone option with a single implant and a single incision takes the fear out of the word "fusion" for patients.

Alex West, M.D., a neurosurgeon in Houston, Texas, added, “People hear the word ‘fusion’ and they get very nervous. With VariLift, my patients are going home in two hours in many cases. One patient called me the following morning and said, ‘Something is wrong because I don't have any pain.’ Being able to use a least-invasive device with a zero-profile construct that expands in situ makes a world of difference to patient and surgeon alike.”

About Wenzel Spine, Inc.

Wenzel Spine, Inc. is a medical technology company focused on providing minimally invasive solutions for the treatment of spinal disorders. Headquartered in Austin, TX, Wenzel Spine is focused on delivering surgical solutions that improve the overall quality of spine care by simplifying procedures and reducing recovery time. Wenzel Spine seeks to improve patient quality of life by designing and producing devices of the highest quality to support our surgeon clients in the care and treatment of their patients. For more information about the S-LIF Procedure, visit


Wenzel Spine, Inc.
William E. Wilson
Chief Executive Officer


Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed.

Elizabeth Hofheinz is a writer/editor for Wenzel Spine and a senior writer at Orthopedics This Week who on two occasions has been honored with the Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence Award from The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Hofheinz collaborates with physicians and Ph.D.s in order to prepare manuscripts for publication in professional journals with clients from the U.S., China, Japan, Turkey, and elsewhere. She has also worked with Hospital for Special Surgery, Mt. Sinai Health System, The Rheumatologist, corporations, public relations firms,, the team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as the Louisiana State University Department of Orthopaedics. Hofheinz holds two master’s degrees: one in public health and another in counseling psychology.