Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure in which two or more vertebrae are joined or fused together.
The MIS TLIF approaches the spine from the side of the spinal canal through a slightly lateral incision in the patient’s back. The incision is typically an inch or so. The approach also approaches the spine between the muscles instead of stripping the muscles form bone. This approach greatly reduces the amount of surgical muscle dissection and minimizes the nerve movement required to access the vertebrae, discs, and nerves. The TLIF approach is generally less traumatic to the spine, is safer for the nerves, and allows for minimal access and endoscopic techniques to be used for spinal fusion. This decrease in trauma to the soft tissue structures often leads to decreased blood loss, shorter hospital stay and more rapid recovery.
Lumbar spine fusion may be recommended for disabling low back and leg symptoms that have not improved with non-surgical forms of treatment. Conditions such as spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease or recurrent disc herniations are known to produce mechanical pain and may be indications for a spinal fusion. TLIF is designed to eliminate the disc as the source of mechanical back pain. Depending upon the condition, one may be a candidate for minimally invasive TLIF.