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Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

The goal of Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) is to increase spinal stability and decrease pain by removing pressure from spinal nerves and stabilizing spinal weaknesses resulting from deformity, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, prior failed back surgeries, or other spine-weakening conditions.

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) addresses a variety of serious back problems, including degenerative disc disease, significant spinal deformity or instability, spondylolisthesis, and prior unsuccessful spinal fusion procedures.

Benefits of TLIF

TLIF is a surgical technique used to remove a damaged disc and fill the resulting gap with material called a bone graft. This graft fuses to existing bone in your spinal column and helps keep your spine structurally sound and stable. Done minimally invasively, the procedure can minimize healing time and risk of infection. Additionally, because your surgeon will be working with bone graft material across two sides of the spine, TLIF enhances fusion and growth of the patient’s own bone — and doesn’t require the surgeon to retract the roots of the nerves to the same extent as some other procedures.

To determine if you are a candidate for TLIF, contact one of our Patient Care Managers at 877.474.2225. If you have already seen a physician, send us a copy of your recent MRI or CT for review using the form on this page.

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Details of the TLIF

During a TLIF, your surgeon will access your spine from the back side, through a small opening in the spine called a foramen. The surgeon will use advanced surgical instruments and microscopes to remove any diseased structures, decompressing impinged nerves. Then, a spacer is inserted between the adjoining vertebrae. The spacer will add stability and will induce the body to grow more bone in the region, adding further stability. Finally, your surgeon will secure the vertebrae with specialized hardware and may place more bone grafts across the backs of the affected vertebrae.

Preparing for the TLIF

Before pursuing a TLIF, prospective patients should have tried conservative methods, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and spinal injections. If those methods have not produced meaningful relief, you may be a candidate for a North American Spine procedure.

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TLIF Recovery

TLIF is typically an inpatient procedure, meaning patients will stay 1-3 nights in the surgery center. Recovery, however, is quite rapid in comparison to traditional open back surgery. Patients will be walking the same day of surgery and performing light activity within a few weeks. More in-depth, customized recovery guidelines will be provided by your North American Spine physician. The vast majority of patients report a significant and lasting reduction of their pre-op symptoms.

While every surgery carries some risk of injury or infection, complications are rare. Your physician will counsel you on these risks prior to the procedure.

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Abraham H.

Condition: Bulging Disc

Procedure: TLIF

“I wholeheartedly recommend the procedure!”

"I started walking and doing resistant exercises which progressed to walking, running and weightlifting by the third month after surgery."

"...I needed surgery if I wanted to continue to live an active life style, in July of 2013."

Connect With A Patient

Some of our former patients have been kind enough to offer to speak with back and neck pain sufferers who are looking into treatment options. We encourage you to take them up on it! After we determine a treatment plan, we’ll connect you with a past patient who had a similar condition and procedure.

Connect with a Patient

We love your questions!

Our friendly Patient Care Managers are standing by and ready to help. Call us at 877.474.2225 or complete the form below, and we'll be in touch shortly.