A transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a specific type of posterior fusion surgical procedure (PLIF), with the distinction being the angle from which the spine is approached.
The surgery involves accessing the lower, or lumbar, portion of the spine through a small incision in the back, and inserting a bone graft between affected vertebrae, allowing your surgeon to fuse and providing stability in the spinal column.
Is TLIF right for me?
A transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion can be a more minimally invasive procedure, and is often less invasive than other spinal surgery procedures.
If you're experiencing instability in the lumbar region of the spine, suffer from degenerative disc disease, stenosis, or spondylolisthesis, you should consult with your doctor about the TLIF procedure. Surgical procedures should only be considered if conservative treatments have not provided you relief.
If you experience the following conditions, you should consult with your doctor:
- Back pain
- Numbness in the lower back, hip or legs
In a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedure, surgeons are able to use small incisions and less intrusive techniques than in a more traditional open spinal surgery.
In a TLIF, Dr. Joseph Weinstein makes an incision in the lower back, over the targeted area of the spinal vertebrae. The exterior roof of the spine, or lamina, is removed, along with any damaged vertebral disc material.
A bone graft and screws are then inserted to allow for fusion of the spinal bone.
Am I a candidate for TLIF?
When medication, physical therapy, and other conservative treatment approaches are not enough to help provide our patients with stability to the spinal column or relief from back pain, a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedure might be considered.
Comprehensive Orthopedic and Spine Care patients can typically expect to spend 1-2 days in the hospital for the procedure. Many of our patient's symptoms are alleviated almost immediately after the procedure, and patients typically experience further improvement over time.
Strenuous activity like heavy lifting is to be avoided in the four to six weeks following the procedure. Each patient's case will vary, so consult your surgeon about your own surgery recovery plan.
All surgery carries some amount of risk, including infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve damage, bowel and bladder complications. You should talk with your doctor about potential risks for a TLIF procedure.
If you have questions about the TLIF procedure or would like to consult with Dr. Joseph Weinstein and the Comprehensive Orthopedic and Spine Care team about your spinal condition, make an appointment to speak with us today!