Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Transfusional Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a contemporary approach to spinal fusion surgery. It is an operation performed on the lower back to remove an intervertebral disc and join two or more spinal bones (vertebrae) together using screws and a cage.

TLIF involves the following: 

  • Decompression of the nerves in the lower back
  • Removal of a facet joint
  • Removal of the intervertebral disc
  • Stabilization of the disc level by inserting screws into the bones above and below (pedicle screws)
  • Fusing the spine by inserting a cage filled with bone into the disc space (interbody fusion)

TLIF offers important advantages over the alternative surgical techniques of both a posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and posterolateral instrumented fusion. 

Diagnosis

Making the diagnosis usually requires taking a history of the problem, as well as a neurological examination. The history (symptoms or complaints obtained from the patient) is the most important aspect of the assessment.

Your doctor may ask: 

  • Has there been an injury?
  • Where is the pain?
  • Is there any numbness?
  • Is there any weakness?
  • Have you had the same or a similar problem in the past?
  • Have you had any weight loss, fevers, or illnesses recently?
  • Have you had cancer in the past?
  • Are there any problems when you urinate or open your bowels?

Goals and Benefits

The goal of surgery includes: 

  • Reduction of leg pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness
  • Reduction of back pain
  • Stabilization of an unstable spine
  • Medication reduction
  • Prevention of deterioration
  • Improved lower back and leg function
  • Improved work and recreational capacity
  • Improved quality of life

Generally, the symptom that improves the most reliably after surgery is leg pain. Back pain also often improves, but occasionally can be worse. The next symptom to improve is usually weakness. Your strength may not return completely back to normal, however. Improvement in strength generally occurs over weeks and months. Numbness or pins and needles may or may not improve with surgery, due to the fact that the nerve fibers transmitting sensation are thinner and more vulnerable to pressure (they are more easily permanently damaged than the other nerve fibers). Numbness can take up to 12 months to improve if it does so.

The chance of obtaining a significant benefit from surgery depends upon a wide variety of factors. Your neurosurgeon will give you an indication of the likelihood of success in your specific case.

Cost

The cost of transfusional lumbar interbody fusion is based on several considerations. This can include both the extent of the procedure and a patient’s insurance carrier. Medicare can cover this procedure if it is deemed necessary treatment. BEST accepts Medicare, most private health insurances, and works with workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases at all of our centers. 

Reach out to BEST Health System Today

To learn more about transfusional lumbar interbody fusion and if it is right for you, contact BEST Health System today. Our caring and experienced team of treatment professionals can help you develop a personalized treatment plan that is right for you. We are dedicated to getting you the quality of life you deserve.

Procedure Doctors

Headshot of Jeffrey Shall, M.D.

Jeffrey Shall, M.D.

Neuropathy Specialist & Spine and Orthopaedic Surgeon

Headshot of D. Philip Stickney, M.D.

D. Philip Stickney, M.D.

Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon

Brainard ASC

Related Articles

Headshot of How To Know If I Have Neuropathy

How To Know If I Have Neuropathy

Understanding Neuropathy Neuropathy, also known as nerve damage, is a common condition that affects a range of patients. When nerves are damaged, they cannot successfully […]

Headshot of Understanding Phantom Limb Pain

Understanding Phantom Limb Pain

What is Phantom Limb Pain? Phantom limb pain is a complex condition that affects patients who suffered a traumatic injury that resulted in them having […]

Headshot of Four Reasons Why Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Develops

Four Reasons Why Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Develops

Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Complex regional pain syndrome, CRPS, is a common condition that affects a variety of patients. Patients with CRPS may experience […]

Headshot of Natural Remedies for Neuropathy Treatment

Natural Remedies for Neuropathy Treatment

Understanding Common Neuropathy Symptoms Neuropathy manifests various symptoms – from tingling and numbness sensations to muscle weakness and balance difficulty. It is important for patients […]

Headshot of Tips for Managing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Tips for Managing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a nerve-related condition that causes patients to experience debilitating pain in a singular […]

Headshot of Why Some Cancer Patients Develop Neuropathy

Why Some Cancer Patients Develop Neuropathy

Understanding Neuropathy Neuropathy, also known as nerve damage, is a common condition that affects the peripheral nervous system. Patients with this condition often experience debilitating […]

Headshot of Understanding What Causes Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Understanding What Causes Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Understanding Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Failed back surgery syndrome can occur for several reasons. In some instances, there’s one, easy-to-identify issue, while in others, there’s […]

Headshot of Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment Options

Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment Options

Living with Diabetic Neuropathy Painful diabetic neuropathy is a common condition that many diabetes patients suffer from. Neuropathy, commonly referred to as nerve damage, can […]

Headshot of FAQs about Phantom Limb Pain

FAQs about Phantom Limb Pain

Understanding Phantom Limb Pain Phantom limb pain is a chronic condition that affects patients who have recently had an amputation. Patients with this condition often […]

Headshot of Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

How Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy Works Spinal cord stimulation therapy is a common treatment option recommended to patients who suffer from debilitating chronic pain as […]

Headshot of At-Home Therapies to Minimize Chronic Pain

At-Home Therapies to Minimize Chronic Pain

Understanding the Severity of Chronic Pain Chronic pain is a common condition that affects a large range of patients for various reasons. This type of […]

Headshot of Physical Therapy for FBSS Patients

Physical Therapy for FBSS Patients

Understanding the Potential of Physical Therapy for FBSS Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a condition that develops after a patient undergoes an unsuccessful spine […]