Am I a Candidate for a TLIF?
If you are certain that a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion is the right treatment for you based on a referral from a doctor or recommendation from another surgeon, the highly skilled surgeons at OLSS are a great choice for getting this procedure done.
With some of the most skilled and highly qualified surgeons in the industry, OLSS has one of the highest success rates. This in part is due to making sure patients we accept as candidates go through a candidacy checking process.
To get started just click the link below and take 5 minutes to answer the questions as accurately as possible. Once we receive your answers one of our professional staff will review them and get back in touch with you to provide feedback and let you know if you are a candidate and what the next steps are to getting you back to living pain-free.
Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) Treatment
TLIF is a surgical procedure that involves removing damaged or diseased vertebrae from the spine and replacing them with bone graft material. This surgery aims to relieve pain caused by spinal stenosis or other conditions affecting the lumbar region of the spine.
What is a Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)?
TLIF is used to treat degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, fractures to the vertebrae, spinal deformities, spondylolistheses, and spinal weakness or instability. TLIF involves cutting through the soft tissue surrounding the nerve root, followed by the insertion of bone graft material into the space between two adjacent vertebrae. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
TLIF is usually done through an incision made along the side of the lower back. A portion of the facet joint above the affected area is removed, and the damaged disc is removed. The bone graft material is inserted into the gap left behind. After surgery, patients wear a brace for several months.
What are the Alternatives to a TLIF?
Surgery is an option if other treatments don’t work. However, physical therapy is often recommended before surgery. Another alternative treatment option includes nerve sheath injection. Activity modifications are sometimes necessary after surgery and may be recommended before surgery to see if there is any change in your condition.
Surgery should be considered if conservative management fails. A TLIF is typically performed if conservative measures fail. It is, essentially, a surgical treatment of last resort.
What are the Potential Benefits of a TLIF?
A TLIF can help reduce symptoms of chronic lower back pain as well as lower body pain in some cases. It can also relieve the stress on the spinal cord, reducing many of the potential issues that can develop, such as nerve damage or difficulty moving due to pinched nerves.
A TLIF can also help prevent other diseases from developing and spreading if diseased disc material is removed. This material, if left untreated, could cause an infection along the spine and lead to widespread problems that are difficult to treat because of the proximity to the spinal cord.
What are the Specific Risks of a TLIF?
Like all surgeries, a TLIF has potential risks. One of the more specific risks is that the spinal cord can be damaged during the procedure, which is possible during any spine surgery. Because discs are being removed, there is a chance that the spine can become unstable and put the cord at risk. However, steps are often taken to ensure that problems do not develop and to minimize possible issues.
How is a TLIF Performed?
A TLIF is performed by removing damaged or diseased disc tissue. In some cases, the entire disc may need to be removed. Depending on how much is removed, the surrounding discs may need to be reinforced with screws or similar options.
The process is relatively straightforward. It begins with an incision over the disc. The muscles are moved out of the way without damaging them, which minimizes healing time. Along the back of the disc, part of the disc called the Lamina may be removed. This relieves some of the stress on the disc and also opens up a space for the surgeon to work in. However, this step is optional and may not be necessary in every case.
Then, the surgeon starts to remove the damaged disc material. Several tools, including lasers, can cut off parts of the disc that need to be removed. Those pieces are broken up into small bits that can fit through the incision.
Once the damaged material is removed, the surgeon ensures that the discs are still stable. If not, they need to be reinforced, which is usually done with screws or similar implants. The muscles are put back in place, and the incision is closed up and bandaged properly.
How is a Minimally Invasive TLIF Performed?
A TLIF can be minimally invasive by reducing the size of the incisions needed to work on the spine. This largely depends on the size of the pieces being removed and the surgeon’s ability to break them up before removing them. The surgeon can break the individual parts into smaller pieces that can fit through small incisions, reducing the need for more invasive procedures and recovery time.
Get in Contact with Our Spine Surgeons for Help
TLIF is a procedure that you may need in more advanced situations. However, the only way to be sure you require it is if you get assessed by a qualified physician. There are specific criteria that you need to meet in order to be a candidate for the procedure.
If you are experiencing back pain and lower body pain, then see an orthopedic or spine doctor. Getting your spine health assessed can reveal potential cures that can get you back to a pain-free life. Call Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery at (866)-646-5090 to schedule an assessment.