For those of you that are unfamiliar with TLIF, also known as Minimally Invasive TLIF or Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion, it is spine surgery used to repair or remove bulging or misaligned spinal disks. Once out of alignment, these problematic discs can cause severe leg, hip, or back pain. The Minimally Invasive TLIF procedure aims to correct the problem and completely remove any of the pain related symptoms.
How Does TLIF Work?
TLIF surgery takes spinal vertebrae and fuses or joins them together by using state of the art bone grafting techniques. The procedure puts a single bone graft into the correct position between the healthy vertebrae that surround the bulging disc. The graft is inserted from the side, typically, rather than using two separate bone grafts inserted from the back similar to a PLIF or posterior lumbar interbody fusion procedure.
When it comes to the TLIF procedure, in some cases specially created spacers will be put into place along with the solitary bone graft. These spacers are inserted in order to help brace and support the spinal column while the bone graft takes hold and is incorporated by the surround bone tissue.
Thankfully, a Minimally Invasive TLIF can be done in accordance with its name, minimally. That means that the incisions created to carry out the procedure are remarkably small, giving the patient the ability to heal and recuperate from the surgery much more quickly. Small incisions and an overall less invasive procedure also minimize the risk of post-procedural complications such as infections and blood loss. Additionally, less muscle tissue in the back and surrounding spinal area will be cut during this procedure, not only decreasing the amount of post-procedural healing but also giving the patient much more mobility to use during post-procedural physical therapy.
Additional Surgical Hardware
In addition to a solitary bone graft and spacers used during the TLIF procedure, the surgeon will also typically use fusion hardware as well. This may include special screws and rods that help to keep the graft in place while it is being accepted and incorporated by the body. These screws and rods will typically be secured on each side of the solitary graft. Eventually, the bone graft will grow around the hardware or even through it, creating the necessary bone bridge to replace the removed disc. The solid bone bridge that will eventually be formed as a result of the solitary bone graft is referred to as “fusion”. This is the end result sought after by the procedure in its entirety.
Once the TLIF procedure is completed the surgeon will carefully remove all of the surgical instruments. The surgical incision will then be sealed shut and a bandage will be placed over the top of it. The vast majority of patients will be allowed to leave the hospital following a 24-hour period of hospital stay and close observation. Within just a few weeks most patients will be able to start resuming their normal daily activity level. Pain management during the post-surgery phase typically consists of prescription and over the counter pain medications. Patients do not normally need to take the prescription pain medication for more than a week following the surgery.
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Advanced Spine Centers
1705 Ohio Dr. Ste #300, Plano, TX 75093
Toll Free 1-833-60-SPINE