Minimal Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion is a procedure that is used to stabilise and fuse a deformed spine in adults. It involves a technique that uses screws, rods, or cages to hold vertebra in place along with the placement of bone graft material for fusion of two or more vertebrae. A minimally invasive surgery is less invasive than conventional surgery for the same purpose, and results in a quicker recovery. Vertebrae are the bones that stack together to form the spinal column, which encases the spinal cord. Medical conditions, age-related changes or traumatic injuries  can cause your vertebra to move and result in painful deformities, that affect the surrounding nerves, muscles and ligaments.

Indications Of Minimally Invasive TLIF

Minimally invasive TLIF may be indicated for a number of medical conditions including:

  • Chronic low back pain
  • Failed back syndrome
  • Segmental instability
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Slipped disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal stenosis

Surgery may indicated in patients have who have disabling back pain for more than 3 months poorly responding to conservative line of treatment including physical therapy and medications like muscle relaxants, steroid injections, and pain killers.

Minimally Invasive TLIF Procedure

The surgery is performed by a neurosurgeon or orthopaedic surgeon, under general anaesthesia so that you don’t feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure. A small incision on the back, directly above the affected vertebrae level. Using specialised tubes, the muscles are gently stretched and moved aside to reveal the area to be operated.

The surgeon removes the disc as well as any bone spurs seen in the area and insert plastic or metal spacer and a bone graft. This is done to restore a more normal spinal alignment into the open space previously occupied by the disc and helps to fuse the two vertebrae.

Once the procedure is completed the instruments are removed and the wound is closed and dressed.

Typically, this surgery takes 2 to 3 hours to complete depending on the number of vertebrae to involved.

Postoperative patient-care

Once the surgery is completed, patient is observed for a brief period of time and discharged home. Your surgeon may need to  take some X-rays to determine how your surgical procedure went.

It is normal to feel slight pain around the incision site, this will subside within a few days or can be relieved with prescribed pain medications.  You will be advised to take bed rest for a few days avoid any heavy lifting, avoid bending or twisting at the waist.

Following a few days of rest, slight movements like walking are recommended, and activity levels are gradually increased. Your surgeon may recommend diets with high levels of calcium, vitamin D and protein to promote healing.


Your original symptoms of pain and discomfort will either be significantly relieved by surgery or fade away over a span of few weeks. Once you have healed adequately you may return to your normal daily and recreational activities.


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