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Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) is typically used to remove a degenerative disc and relieve pressure on nerve roots in the lumbar spine.
Using the minimally invasive procedure involves a small incision in the back. Using a C-arm for X-ray imaging, the surgeon locates the vertebral level with the herniated disc.
Making the smallest incision possible, the surgeon uses a combination of dilators and tubular retractors to access the vertebra and remove the degenerative disc. An implant with bone graft is placed in the empty space, this realigns the vertebral bones and relieves pressure on the nerve roots.
Some advanced spine surgeons perform the TLIF procedure through a minimally invasive approach. Advantages of the minimally invasive TLIF procedure over traditional spine surgery include a smaller incision, less disruption to muscle tissue, less time in the hospital and less pain in recovery.