Learn about Minimally Invasive TLIF Procedure
The minimally invasive TLIF procedure is used to remove a degenerated disc to relieve the compression of nerve roots in the lumbar spine. It is performed through a small incision on the back. After anesthesia has been administered, the surgeon uses a portable x-ray machine to identify the diseased vertebral levels. Then, the surgeon makes the smallest possible incision in the skin directly above the target level.
A series of dilators of increasing size are carefully passed through muscles and soft tissue using the guidance of the portable x-ray machine. The surgeon slides a tubular retractor over the dilators and removes the dilators, creating a working channel that leaves muscle tissue intact. This working channel allows the surgeon to access the target vertebra and painful nerve root in a way that minimizes incisional pain and scarring of the muscles.
The surgeon may use a microscope or endoscope to direct surgical instruments through the working channel. First, the surgeon removes bone at the rear of the vertebrae to create an opening. This opening will provide a clear route to the degenerated disc. The surgeon works through this opening to carefully remove the disc. Some of the disc wall is left behind to help contain the bone graft.