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TLIF: Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

May 27, 2017

Overview

TLIF is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The surgeon will stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material.

Incision Made

The procedure is performed through one or more small incisions in the back.

Disc Accessed

Parts of the vertebral bone need to be removed to get access to the disc. Since most TLIF procedures access the disc through only one side of the spine, recovery time after the procedure will be shorter than with traditional fusion surgery.

Disc Partially Removed

The damaged disc is partially removed. Some of the disc wall is left behind to help contain the bone graft material.

Implant Inserted

The implant is placed in the empty disc space, realigning the vertebral bones. This also lifts pressure from pinched nerve roots. The area may also be filled with morselized bone.

Additional Support

The surgeon may implant a series of screws and rods for additional support. Bone graft is also placed along the sides of the spine.

End of Procedure

The morselized bone graft will grow through and around the implants, forming a bone bridge that connects the vertebral bodies above and below. This solid bone bridge is called a fusion.

About the Author

Dr. John B. Adams is board certified in Pain Management by the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians. With almost 2 decades of experience, he offers patients access to state-of-the-art pain management, emphasizing a multidisciplinary approach to pain management utilizing precision injections, neuromodulation technology, physical therapy, behavioral medicine and judicious use of medications including help with patients titrating off opiates (narcotic pain medications).

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