Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

Spinal fusion (such as a TLIF) is a surgical technique to stabilize the spinal vertebra and the disc or shock absorber between the vertebra. Lumbar fusion surgery is designed to create solid bone between the adjoining vertebra, eliminating any movement between the bones. The goal of the surgery is to reduce pain and nerve irritation.

Spinal fusion may be recommended for conditions such as spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease or recurrent disc herniations. Surgeons perform lumbar fusion using several techniques.

TLIF back surgery is done through the posterior (back) part of the spine.

Surgical hardware is applied to the spine to help enhance the fusion rate. Pedicle screws and rods are attached to the back of the vertebra and an interbody fusion spacer is inserted into the disc space from one side of the spine.
Bone graft is placed into the interbody space and alongside the back of the vertebra to be fused. Bone graft is obtained from the patient's pelvis, although bone graft substitutes are also sometimes used.
As the bone graft heals, it fuses the vertebra above and below and forms one long bone.

Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion(MIS TLIF) Using the minimally invasive procedure involves a small incision in the back. Using a portable X-ray machine, the surgeon locates the diseased vertebral levels. Making the smallest incision possible, the surgeon uses a combination of dilators and tubular retractors to access the vertebra and remove the degenerative disc. An implant with bone graft is placed in the empty space, this realigns the vertebral bones and relieves pressure on the nerve roots.

Advantages of the minimally invasive TLIF procedure over traditional spine surgery include smaller incision and less disruption to muscle tissue.