TLIF is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The procedure stabilizes the spine by fusing vertebrae together with bone graft material. Since most TLIF procedures access the disc through only one side of the spine, recovery time will be shorter than with traditional surgery.
In this procedure, a small incision is made in the back. Parts of the vertebral bone are removed to provide access to the disc. Then the damaged disc is partially removed. Some of the disc wall is left behind to help contain the bone graft material. A bone graft is then placed in the empty disc space, realigning the vertebral bones and lifting pressure from the nerve roots. The area may also be filled with morselized bone.
The surgeon may implant a series of screws and rods for additional support. Bone graft is also placed along the sides of the spine. The bone graft will grow through and around the implants, forming a bone bridge that connects the vertebral bodies, called a fusion.
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