VIDEO: Minimally Invasive TLIF
People with serious pain in their lower backs along their lumbar spine often find that fusion surgery may their best option. The minimally invasive TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion) is one of the best, most advanced options for spinal fusion.
The goal of the minimally invasive TLIF is to provide relief from the pain associated with a number of lower back problems such as spondylolisthesis and disc degeneration, which have not responded to non-surgical treatments.
Traditional TLIF surgery is performed in what is called an “open” technique, which required making a larger incision as well as the cutting and retracting of muscle and tissue. Although effective, the traditional TLIF requires a long recovery period of several weeks or months.
Dr. Radcliff, however, is one of few spine surgeons who specialize in minimally invasive TLIF surgery, which requires smaller incisions and a significantly shorter recovery period.
During the minimally TLIF procedure, Dr. Radcliff first makes a small incision off the middle of your lower back and inserts a small tube through the incision until it rests on the spine. Using special surgical instruments, he then performs the entire TLIF procedure through the tube.
By working through the small tube instead of a traditional “open” incision, Dr. Radcliff is able to significantly reduce the amount of muscle and tissue that needs to be cut or disrupted, as well as the amount of blood loss. This typically translates to a shorter hospital stay and faster patient recovery times.
After undergoing a minimally invasive TLIF procedure, a patient typically goes home the same day, although some may remain in the hospital for one or two nights.
A physical therapy regimen is started soon after to assist the patient in regaining strength and mobility. Certain activities are restricted during the recovery period, including heavy lifting, twisting the midsection, and bending at the waist. Many patients can return to work within a few weeks after the procedure if their employment does not require strenuous exertion. However, heavy lifting and manual labor will be prohibited for a longer period of time.