Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)

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    More than 40% of the world’s population has spinal problems. Every 4th case is severe and calls for operational intervention. Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is an operation that allows vertebrae to be fixed in order to prevent the destruction of the spinal segments.

    The minimally invasive intervention normally lasts a couple of hours, where the pieces of the patient’s own bone are installed in the affected vertebrae. Over time, bone tissue grows around the vertebrae, which stabilizes them. However, since this process is natural, metal implants are installed to create stability till the bone tissue grows.

    Advantages of Minimally Invasive TLIF over Traditional Open Back Fusion

    The beneficial sides of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) over similar types of the operational intervention are:

    • Minimal trauma to soft tissues;
    • minimally invasive method means that tiny cuts are made;
    • reduced bleeding during the procedure;
    • The duration of the operation is about 2-3 hours;
    • Reduced level of postoperative aching;
    • Short reparative period;
    • Low risk of any issues after the procedure;
    • Positive dynamics occurs in the first days after the operation.

    What Happens during Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) Surgery?

    In Orlando Medical Center “Touch of Health”, the process of minimally invasive TLIF is the following:

    First phase. The doctor makes a 2.5 cm incision laterally at a distance of 4-5 cm from the centerline of the back. A mirrored incision is made for the insertion of transpedicular screws from the opposite side. Also, via this cut it is possible to loosen up the roots or distraction of the elements in transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion.

    Second phase. The upper part of the lower arch and the inter-articular part of the arch is removed using Kerrison nippers. Removing the lateral part of the ligamentum flavum gives a way to get into the interbody space.

    Third phase. The doctor excises the fibrous ring with a scalpel. Distraction is then performed to preserve the emerging root and allow a better view of the annulus fibrosus. After the remnants of the fibrous ring are excises, osteophytes and other growths are removed. 

    Fourth phase. The doctor uses a gauge or a cage simulator to determine the required height of the implant. The graft is placed strictly in the middle of the vertebral body. The transpeduicular fixation is performed by placing the barbell on the transpedicular screws and collecting the whole system. Drainage is installed in the wound, and then it is sewn up in layers. 

    What should I Expect?

    It is allowed for the patient to get up the second day following the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF).  To speed up the reparative processes after the minimally invasive intervention, individually selected medicaments are prescribed, as well as wearing an orthopedic corset. On average, the final recovery of the body takes about 2 months following the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. During this time, it is forbidden to perform heavy physical work, lift weights and sit for a long time.

    What are the Results?

    In Orlando Medical Center “Touch of Health”, we observe that in the most cases of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), the development of a block occurs after 6-12 months, which was the main goal of the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). A stable positive outcome is reported as early as 1.5-2 months, and persists even 47 months later.

    Our medical center provides comfortable reception rooms, modern diagnostic equipment and operating rooms with the latest technology. We are constantly improving and trying to create the best equipment for patients with various spine diseases.

    Written by Touch of Health
    Medically reviewed by Michael Thomas Posted on March 3, 2021

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