What Is A Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)?

TLIF is an effective surgical procedure conducted to fuse the vertebrae in the lumbar (low back) region into solid bone for stability and may be performed using minimally invasive techniques. It may be recommended as a treatment option to relieve pain resulting from conditions such as spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease or disc herniation.

What to Expect During and After The Procedure

During the Procedure – Dr. LaRocca will create an incision in the back, moving aside the muscles for access to the spine. Once the path to the spine is clear, the affected disc material is removed and the bones are slightly spread apart to make room for the bone graft. Spreading the bone also supports proper curvature of the spine and widens the opening to relieve pressure on the impinged (pinched) nerves.

A cage packed with the patient’s own bone, cadaver bone or various other biologically active materials is then placed in the empty disc space. Bone graft is also placed along the back of the vertebrae to fuse the two vertebrae together. When the implant is firmly in place, pedicle screws are inserted into the bone and rods are placed between the screws to keep the spine fixed and stable.

After the Procedure – The day after the procedure, patients will begin a physical therapy walking program as well as be shown how to get out of bed to walk independently and safely. Discharge from the hospital will occur two to four days following the procedure with oral pain medication. Patients may be able to return to work four to six weeks after the procedure.