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Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

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Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

  • Dr. Charla Fischer
  • Nov 14, 2017

MIS TLIF is an acronym for Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion surgery. This is a spinal fusion surgery that joins together two or more vertebrae, and is commonly performed to eliminate a degenerative disc and release pressure on nerves located along the lumbar spine. The minimally invasive approach is ideal because it involves a smaller incision than traditional open spinal surgeries. Available at NYU Langone Center For Musculoskeletal Care in New York City, MIS TLIF may be the surgery for you.

Lumbar spine fusion can address lower back and leg symptoms that have not responded to non-surgical treatment. Common disorders treated with MIS TLIF surgery include degenerative disc disease, recurring herniated discs, and spondylolisthesis, among others. One of the main goals of TLIF is to eliminate the disc as the source of back pain.

MIS TLIF begins with a small incision of only about one inch along the patient’s lumbar region of the back. The spine is accessed between the muscles instead of damaging the muscles and tissues during the procedure. TLIF surgery is usually safer for the nerves and less traumatic to the spine. During MIS TLIF surgery, special tools are used to access the spine through the small incision. The surgeon inserts a small tube through the incision, and then uses special instruments to perform the TLIF procedure through the tube. This advanced minimally invasive technique causes less damage to muscles and tissue, less blood loss, reduced pain, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery.

The fusion portion of the surgery involves placing a bone graft into the disc space after it is removed. Over time, the bone graft heals and becomes part of the patient’s bone so that the two vertebrae become one. The area is usually held together with metal screws, rods or plates so that it becomes immobile until healing is complete.

TLIF surgery is usually performed by Dr. Charla Fischer as an outpatient procedure or hospital release the next day. Most patients are able to resume normal activities 2-3 weeks after surgery, with physical therapy required during the recovery process. Activity level increases as physical therapy progresses and as the fusion heals. Often, patients experience the maximum level of improvement about 7 months after MIS TLIF surgery.

If you have disc-related back problems, schedule an appointment at NYU Langone Center For Musculoskeletal Care with Dr. Fischer to determine if MIS TLIF is right for you.

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