What Is Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion?

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a minimally invasive spinal surgery used to treat a damaged or degenerated spinal disc. During the procedure, the damaged disc is removed and the adjacent vertebrae are fused. Age, genetics, traumatic accidents and normal wear and tear can all lead to disc degeneration that requires surgical repair. This procedure is often used to stabilize the spine and provide pain relief for patients who have degenerative disc disease or recurrent disc herniations. 

Degenerated discs in the neck (cervical spine) and low back (lumbar spine) cause significant pain, inflammation, numbness, weakness and loss of mobility. In many cases, a bulging or herniated disc is compressing nearby spinal nerves, leading to pain in the neck or back that extends down the arms or legs. A TLIF procedure stabilizes the spine and eliminates movement between vertebrae. 

What to Expect During the Procedure

At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, we perform TLIF as an outpatient procedure so that you can return home the same day. At the procedure, your surgeon will place you under anesthesia and make a small incision in your back just above the level where damage occurred. Using special tools, your doctor will move aside muscle and soft tissues to make a channel to your spine. Your surgeon will then remove bones in the vertebrae to create a path to the degenerated disc. The damaged disc is carefully removed and replaced with an implant filled with bone graft. The implant helps maintain the proper height in the spine and realign the vertebrae while relieving painful pressure on compressed nerves.

Your surgeon will also place hardware and additional bone grafts along both sides of the spine for more support. Over time, the bone grafts will grow through and around the implants to form a solid line of bone with adjacent vertebrae.   

Recovery

TLIF is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it has fewer risks than open surgery and requires less downtime and recovery time. You’ll be able to return home the same day as surgery and our staff will give you specific instructions to help aid your recovery. You may have some pain and weakness following the procedure, but many patients are able to return to normal activities within a few weeks of surgery.

Some of the primary benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Fewer complications and bloss loss during surgery
  • Less damage to surrounding muscle and soft tissues
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Less post-op pain and less reliance on strong pain medications during recovery
  • Faster recovery and rehabilitation
  • Better cosmetic results with minimal scarring 

We encourage you to learn more about minimally invasive surgery and the benefits here:

5 Advantages of Minimally Invasive Procedures  

Contact Integrity Spine and Orthopedics to Find Relief From Back or Neck Pain

At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, we specialize in identifying, diagnosing and treating a wide range of acute and chronic back, spine and joint conditions. If you’re experiencing back or joint pain, weakness, or a loss of mobility, reach out to us today to schedule a consultation with our team. We provide compassionate and comprehensive care to help you find relief from pain and get back to doing the activities you love. 

Call us at 904-456-0017 or contact us online to request an appointment.

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