TLIF stands for Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion. This fusion surgery treats conditions affecting the lumbar spine. It is done when the vertebral bodies of the spine are out of alignment, either from a fracture, injury, or degeneration.
The TLIF technique is similar to the PLIF procedure, but is a more refined approach with decreased risk of injury. A midline incision is made in the back, and the surgeon removes a facet joint on one side of the vertebra to access the intervertebral disc. The disc is removed and replaced with a spacer and bone graft. The surgery is designed to fuse two or more of the vertebrae together, reducing or eliminating pain caused by the vertebrae moving. This approach reduces the amount of surgical muscle dissection and minimizes the nerve manipulation required to access the vertebrae, discs and nerves. The TLIF approach is generally less traumatic to the spine than PLIF, safer for the nerves, and allows for minimal access and endoscopic techniques to be used for spinal fusion. The TLIF technique is commonly used to treat conditions such as herniations, spondylolisthesis, and degenerative disc disease.