Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion - A Detailed Guide

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion is a surgical procedure that is carried out in the lower back to treat certain cases including spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, lumbar canal stenosis, and nerve compression causing pain. Back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease can also be treated using TLIF.

Spinal fusion sometimes becomes the last option to fix problems caused by injuries to the spine. This happens because conventional treatment methods fail to relieve the symptoms associated with the condition. Fusion often involves the use of orthopedic devices that include orthopedic screws and other spinal implants, and to get international standard quality devices, find reliable & experienced Orthopaedic Manufacturers.

Spinal problems are critical, and you never know they might result in life-long complications. The surgeries performed to fix different types of spinal issues are also different. One of the procedures performed is transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), and this post will discuss it in detail.

What is Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion?

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion is a surgical procedure that is carried out in the lower back to treat certain cases including spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, lumbar canal stenosis, and nerve compression causing pain. Back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease can also be treated using TLIF.

The goal of this surgery is to form a solid bone between fused vertebrae while eliminating any movement between them. This helps relieve pain and nerve irritation. During this surgery, both the problematic facet joints and intervertebral discs are removed. For stabilization, metal hardware is also applied. Their application is also known to increase the fusion rates.

How TLIF is Performed?

Being a surgical technique, an incision is made in the lower back to access the problematic spinal region. Once clear access is there, the damaged disc is removed, and the space formed is filled with a spacer bone graft. This is done to realign the vertebra and relieve pressure from the nerve roots. Along with this, rods and screws are also applied to ensure correct graft placement and achieve a solid fusion.

What Happens After the Surgery?

A hospital stay for around 3-5 days is a must after TLIF surgery, and it might extend depending upon the situation of the patient. Regular medication during the hospital stay is provided and blood cell counts are monitored to determine the need for blood transfusion.

The surgical drain also needs to be removed within 2 days of the surgery, and the surgeons will guide patients/attendants about everything that needs to be done at home before discharge.

What Are the Advantages of TLIF Surgery?

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion has several advantages over other spinal fusion techniques. With this technique, the graft is placed along the gutters as well as in the disc space, thus, the chances of better fusion are there. Not only this, but TLIF also doesn’t require much retraction of nerve roots, and hence, this reduces the risk of nerve injuries and scarring.

What Are the Complications Associated with TLIF?

Risks and complications are there with all types of surgeries, and TLIF also has some. Though not seen commonly yet, nonunions could be seen after the surgery. Besides this, there is also a risk of infection and blood loss along with problems related to anesthesia. Medical complications that could occur in most rare cases include heart attack and pneumonia.


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