Spinal Fusion with TLIF
Spinal fusion (such as TLIF) is a surgical technique to stabilize the spinal vertebrae and disk or shock absorber between vertebrae. Lumbar fusion surgery is designed to make solid bones between adjacent vertebrae, removing any movement between the bones. The goal of surgery is to reduce pain and nerve irritation.
Spinal fusion can be recommended for conditions such as spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease or recurrent disk herniation. Surgeons carry out lumbar fusion using several techniques. This article describes the transforaminal lumbar interbody (TLIF) fusion technique.
Procedure for Spine Fusion Using the TLIF Technique
TLIF back surgery is done through the back of the spine.
* Surgical hardware is applied to the spine to help increase the fusion rate. The screw and pedicle stem are attached to the back of the spine and the interbody fusion spacer is inserted into the disk space from one side of the spine.
* A bone graft is placed into the interbody space and along the back of the spine to fuse. Bone grafts are obtained from the patient's pelvis, although replacement of bone grafts is also sometimes used.
* When a bone graft heals, it unites the vertebrae above and below and forms a long bone.
TLIF combines anterior (front) and posterior (back) columns through a single posterior approach. The anterior part of the spine is stabilized by bone grafts and interbody spacers. The posterior column is locked with a pedicle screw, stem, and bone graft.
Benefits of TLIF Spine Surgery Techniques
The TLIF procedure has several theoretical advantages over some other forms of lumbar fusion:
Bone fusion is enhanced because bone grafts are placed both along the spinal cord but also in disk space.
A spacer is inserted into the disk space to help restore normal height and open the nerve foramina to remove pressure from nerve roots.
The TLIF procedure allows the surgeon to insert bone grafts and spacers into the disk space of the unilateral approach laterally without having to forcibly pull out as many nerve roots as possible, which can reduce injury and scar tissue around the nerve roots when compared to the PLIF procedure.
As is the case with the lumbar spine fusion procedure, before TLIF operating permits are obtained. It is recommended to stop smoking. Patients may need a pre-blood donor to use during surgery.