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Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)

Lumbar decompression surgery

If you have nerve or disc problems in your spine, our consultants can treat you with minimally invasive fusion surgery

About

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) treats compressed nerves and/or disc problems in your lower (lumbar) spine. It's a minimally invasive procedure, where two or more of your vertebrae are fused together. This can lead to shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times than other treatments for this injury.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    TLIF is carried out under general anaesthetic. Once you are asleep, your surgeon will likely follow these steps during the procedure: An incision will be made in the middle of your back at the level of the spine needing treatment. Your surgeon will then insert a small tube in this area, resting it on your spine. X-rays will confirm the location. Using a microscope and special instruments, your surgeon carefully will pull back muscle and tissue through the tube from around the spine. Once the disc has been identified, it will then be removed to allow placement of ‘cages’ containing bone graft material. This will then fixed together with screws to stabilise and realign your spine. The incision on your back will be closed to finish the procedure. 
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain your procedure to you and answer any questions you might have.

    Because you'll be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery. You may also be asked to attend a nurse-led pre-assessment clinic.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.

     
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Compared with other procedures that treat the same injury, minimally invasive TLIF can dramatically reduce recovery time and the length of your stay in hospital. The smaller incision your surgeon makes on your back also means you will experience less blood loss. You will likely stay in hospital overnight and be discharged the next day. It is possible to walk immediately in your recovery process, as your spine will be stronger than before. Full recovery time depends on the individual. If you do feel any discomfort, you may take pain relief medication.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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