What is TLIF ?

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) is a surgical approach of removing an intervertebral disc which is the source of back or leg pain, from the side rather than the rear of a spine and stabilizing the spine with the help of screws and rods.

In this approach, an incision is made in the middle of the low back. Surgical instruments are used to remove the entire facet joint on one side in order to allow access to the degenerated disc. The culprit disc is viewed and removed under the microscope. Thereafter with the help of navigation and 3D C Arm, two or more spinal bones are fused together using screws and a cage.

After a physical assessment, you shall be medically investigated for your spinal problem. Once investigations and medical assessment are completed your surgery shall be planned. You will be advised to get admitted on the day of surgery.

You and / or your relative has explained the procedure in detail and consent is undertaken. Pre-anaesthesia checkup (PAC) is done. The intravenous line (IV) is given to provide fluids. You are shifted to OT for a procedure. You are given anesthesia before surgery. Post-procedure, you will be moved to Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and once fully awake, you will be moved to the hospital room. You shall also be given a lumbar brace to provide support while your lower back is healing. You shall be mobilized with the help of walking aids. You shall be mobilized with the help of walking aids.

You are monitored in the room and shall be given appropriate medication including pain relievers. You may have Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) pump. You will undergo physical rehabilitation.

You shall continue to be monitored in the room. Physical rehabilitation for your back shall continue. IV medications may be stopped and you may be put on oral medication.

Discharge process is undertaken. You will be appraised about the post-discharge exercises to be done at home and will also be explained about the discharge medication and follow up. You will be discharged in stable condition.

You will be advised to avoid bending at the waist so that there is no strain injury, however, you will be advised to slowly increase your activities and as you feel better, you may exercise as per instructions to improve your strength and mobility.

In the follow-up process, your incisions will be inspected and you will be asked to visit the doctor after 7 days for stitch removal.

After 4-6 weeks, X-ray will be taken to confirm the fusion area is healing properly. After 8-12 weeks, patients will be given the prescription for physical therapy for gentle back exercises.