For Treatment of Back Pain, Leg Pain and Nerve Irritation
Transforaminal lumber interbody fusion (TLIF) treats problems of the lumbar
(lower back) region of the spine. Minimally invasive TLIF is used to treat
back and/or leg pain usually caused by degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.
This procedure is performed minimally invasive by using two small incisions
(instead of one larger incision) in the middle to decrease trauma to the
muscles that provide stability to the spine. During the procedure, the
spinal disc is removed and replaced with a spacer containing bone graft.
The two bones (vertebrae) adjacent to the replaced disc are joined together
with rods and screws to hold them in place while the bones fuse. The graft
helps the new bone grow, fusing the two vertebrae into one solid piece.
Minimally invasive spine (MIS) procedures include the following benefits:
- Shorter recovery time
- Less post-operative pain
- Decreased blood loss
- Less damage to tissues and muscles
- Smaller scars
- Quicker return to daily activities
Who is a candidate?
MIS TLIF may be recommended to treat a number of spine problems. However,
the majority of people with these conditions will be successfully treated
with conservative measures—that is without surgery.
Only after conservative measures have failed to relieve symptoms will surgery
be considered. Some common problems that may be treated with lumbar fusion include:
Degenerative Disc Disease – Age and wear and tear can cause the discs that act as cushions
between each vertebrae to shrink, allowing abnormal movement. This abnormal
movement can again result in an unstable area in the spine and compress
the nerves, causing leg pain and numbness.
Arthritis – Arthritis of the spine can lead to spinal stenosis, a narrowing
of the spinal canal caused by bony spurs forming on the vertebrae, narrowing
the openings through which the nerves and nerve roots must travel. This
narrowing can cause pressure on the nerves, resulting in pain, numbness,
tingling or weakness down the legs.
Spondylolisthesis – This term describes a particular type of abnormal movement of
the vertebrae. With spondylolisthesis, one vertebra has slipped forward
over another. If the vertebrae continue to slip back and forth, the spinal
nerves may be affected, causing leg pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness.
Where does the bone for a fusion come from?
The bone graft can be taken from you or from a bone bank. If using your
own bone, local bone is saved during the surgery. Bone from a bone bank
is a good option, especially if your own bone is weak or damaged from
osteoporosis. In addition, synthetic bone graft may be used.
How long will it take to recover?
Recovery time after MIS TLIF varies depending on your particular situation,
the number of levels involved, as well as your general health. Many people
will return home after one to two days in the hospital. Your doctor will
give you specific instructions on activity levels, including when you
can resume driving and return to work.
Contact Us for More Information or Physician Referral
We are happy to answer your questions. Our nurse navigator can be reached
at (619) 229-4548 or by
e-mail. To find a spine surgeon affiliated with our program, please
click here or call (800) 258-2723.