In order to provide patients with the most current, advanced and effective spinal treatments, the Spine Institute physicians are active participants in some of the industry’s most innovative clinical trials for spinal treatment. Their involvement helps to ensure that patients have a wide spectrum of choices for eliminating back and neck pain ranging from traditional spinal fusions such as TLIF to cutting-edge, motion-preserving surgical procedures.
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion is a type of surgical spinal fusion that is used to restore disc height and permanently fuse damaged or displaced vertebrae, eliminating movement and reducing pain and nerve irritation. TLIF is often recommended to treat back or leg pain caused by conditions such as spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease or recurrent disc herniations.
Performed through the posterior (back) of the spine, the surgeon will remove parts of the invertebral bone to access the targeted disc. The damaged disc is partially removed and an implant is inserted in the empty disc space along the back of the vertebrae to help restore normal disc height. Doing so will open the space to take pressure off the nerve roots. Surgical hardware such as pedicle screws and rods as well as bone graft are placed on the sides of the spine to further stabilize and fuse the anterior and posterior columns to prevent abnormal movement.
Studies indicate that the patient’s pain is improved 60-70% after TLIF spinal fusion surgery, with approximately 80% of patients satisfied with the surgical result. The road to recovery will be different for each patient, however patients will generally spend 3-4 days in the hospital and will be advised to avoid bending and twisting at the waist and should not do any heavy lifting (more than ten pounds) for the first six weeks. Light duty or office type work may be resumed around the six week mark and physical therapy may also be recommended during this time to ensure a safe, strong and healthy rehabilitation.
The benefits of the TLIF procedure must be weighed against potential complications which can include poor or allergic reaction to anesthesia, infection, blood loss, nerve injury, stroke, improper fusion of bones and loosening or breakage of screws and rods. While complications and permanent or serious risks are uncommon, there is no guarantee that the TLIF will completely eliminate pain. It is best to seek advice and consultation from a professional surgeon in order to address all questions and concerns.
While a surgeon’s experience, ability, training and expertise are critical for a successful surgical outcome, an accurate diagnosis also plays a major role. When patients are not accurately diagnosed, even the best surgeons will be unable to provide the proper surgical care required. At the Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, our physicians are not only world-leaders in the field of spinal surgery, they make up a trusted and advanced diagnostic team that explores all patient symptoms to ensure the right diagnosis and the most appropriate approach, whether a traditional fusion surgery or a spinal fusion alternative.
To see if you are a candidate for ALIF surgery or to request a complimentary consultation, contact us today at (310) 828-7757 – we’re here to help.