TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Fusion)

A diseased or damaged intervertebral disc is one of the most common causes of lower back and/or lower extremity pain. When non-surgical treatment options like anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy do not reduce pain caused by a diseased or damaged disc, surgical intervention may be necessary. A TLIF (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) is a minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) that removes a diseased or damaged disc and replaces it a bone graft implant. The incision that is used to perform the procedure is a posterior lateral one—made from the back and to the side of the midline. Important spinal nerves are not disturbed during surgery because the approach allows the spine surgeon to avoid retracting them. Following surgery, patients experience less pain and recover faster than they would have had they undergone traditional spine surgery.

A TLIF Procedure at Hope Orthopedics

A team of medical professionals works together during a TLIF procedure. A board-certified anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia, monitors vitals, and if necessary gives pain medications. The spine surgeon performs the procedure using the following steps:

  • Incision. A posterior lateral incision is made.
  • Exposure. Minimally invasive techniques are used to visualize the spine
  • Intervertebral disc removal. Microscopic instruments are used to removed the disc
  • Implant. An implant packed with bone graft is placed between adjacent vertebrae
  • Fixation. Tiny screws and rods are used to fixate the vertebrae

Special sutures are used to close the incision. Total procedure time is approximately two hours. Patients are brought to their private hospital room after they recover in the post-operative recovery unit.

Recovery and Results

Patients stay in the hospital while they regain their strength. They learn how to get up and walk with the help of registered nurses and physical therapists. Postoperative appointments occur after two, six, and twelve weeks. Bone healing is monitored throughout the entire process. Patients are released to return to activities as bone healing progresses.

One of the advantages of a TLIF is that it can be used to treat a variety of conditions. The most common of which include the following:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • A herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis

Scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, and sciatica can also be treated Patients who are experiencing symptoms of back and/or extremity pain, numbness, burning, or weakness may experience tremendous relief after an XLIF procedure. Patients who are interested in finding out if an XLIF is a solution to their pain problem are encouraged to schedule an appointment with one of the spine specialists at Hope Orthopedics.