Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS – TLIF)
What is the MIS-TLIF Procedure?
Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion or TLIF, is a type of fusion procedure similar to other forms of interbody fusion like ALIF (anterior – front approach), PLIF (posterior – back approach). However, TLIF uses an approach from the side.
TLIF is traditionally performed as an “open” procedure. This means that it uses a large incision made into the side of the back area, however, Minimally Invasive TLIF uses much smaller incisions as well as other specialty devices.
Why Do You Need TLIF Surgery?
Generally, patients with back issues and spinal conditions affecting the lumbar or lower back area, will need the TLIF procedure. It helps improve spinal stability, and assists in the treatment of the vasriety of conditions including:
- Spinal Stenosis
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Nerve Compression Causing Lower Back Pain
- Other issues affecting the Lumbar Spine.
Benefits of TLIF Surgery
Spinal fusion surgery is a process which involves the fusion of 2 or more vertebrae, in the event the disc in between is experiencing some type of damage, degeneration, or disease. When this occurs, the disc must be removed, and a spacer device must be put in its place in order for the two vertebrae to fuse together, and alleviate any pain, discomfort or degeneration.
The Transforaminal approach is performed at the side of the spinal cord rather than from a straight posterior angle. And the Minimally Invasive type of TLIF has a number of added benefits as well. Some of the common benefits of MIS TLIF are:
- Side Entry means less disruptions of the nerves.
- MIS Allows for minimal blood loss
- MIS Allows for minimal tissue damage
- Faster Recovery
- Less Scarring
The procedure is relatively quick and efficient, in comparison to more invasive versions. A set of two small incisions are made in the side of the back and an endoscopic device is inserted into the back. The device is fitted with a camera at the end, so the surgeon has an internal, real-time view of the inner spine tissue. Retractors may be used to spread the muscle and other body tissues apart, so that they don’t have to be cut in any way. Once the surgeon reaches the spine, the damaged vertebral bone or intervertebral disc is partially or totally removed. Bone graft or a suitable spacer is placed to maintain the intervertebral space and allow the bones to fuse. Screws, rods and plates may be used for additional support. The retractors and endoscopic device are removed, and the incision is closed.
During the early recovery process, patients may have to spend a few days in the hospital under observation. Because of the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, healing is relatively quick, and visible scarring is minimal. However, the bones will take over 4-6 weeks to fuse, a brace is often prescribed to additional support during healing. Our staff will provide help during this entire process.
For more information on this procedure or any other spinal procedure, or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Arutyunyan today.