Lower Back Spinal Fusion
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
Back pain comes in many different forms. Some forms of back pain are related to muscles and ligaments. Others may be caused by a condition or injury affecting the vertebrae in your spine. When this happens, surgery may be a viable treatment option. One of the most frequently performed types of spine surgery is spinal fusion. This is a surgery in which two or more vertebrae in the spine are joined together to reduce pressure off the nerves and improve structure in the spine. There are different types of spinal fusion. If your spinal pain is located in your lower back, you may benefit from transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF).
What is TLIF?TLIF is a form of interbody fusion. This is a type of spinal fusion in which the damaged disc between the vertebrae is removed. Since the disc is supposed to separate and cushion the vertebrae from friction and impact, surgeons will compensate for its loss by fusing the vertebrae together. In interbody fusion, this is achieved by inserting a small cage-like structure containing the bone graft material between the vertebrae. Over time, the bones will grow over the graft material and fuse into one solid piece. Surgeons have different ways of performing interbody fusion. TLIF is frequently the most-preferable form of interbody fusion in the lower back because it can be less invasive. In TLIF, the surgeon approaches the lumbar spine through the side rather than the back. This reduces the chances of nerve damage and blood loss, and it offers your surgeon a better field of view.
Who needs TLIF?People with chronic and severe lower back pain rooted in the spine may benefit from TLIF. Doctors will usually try conservative treatments for back pain first, but if these methods won’t work, you may need TLIF. Conditions that TLIF can treat include:
- Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
- Herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
What are the risks of TLIF?Our surgeons work hard to minimize complications during the TLIF procedures we perform, but every surgery has risks of complications. Potential complications that can occur during TLIF include:
- Nerve damage
- Loss of spinal fluid
- Blood loss
- Blood clots
- Allergic reaction
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If you suffer from an injury or condition affecting your lower back, you should talk to a medical professional about TLIF. If conservative treatments aren’t working, TLIF may be what you need to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to learn more about TLIF or to schedule an appointment.