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A transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a type of posterior fusion surgical procedure (PLIF), with the distinction being the angle from which the spine is approached during surgery.

The TLIF involves accessing the lumbar portion of the spine through a small incision in the back, and inserting a bone graft between affected vertebrae, allowing your surgeon to fuse and providing stability in the spinal column.


A transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion can be a minimally invasive surgical treatment, and if you’re experiencing instability or discomfort in the lumbar region of the spine, you should consult with your doctor about the TLIF treatment.

Surgical procedures should only be considered if less-invasive treatments like pain medication, hot and cold therapy, or physical therapy have not provided you relief.

In a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion treatment, surgeons are able to use tiny incisions and less intrusive techniques than in a more traditional open spinal surgery. A small incision in the lower back is made, over the targeted area of the vertebrae. The exterior “roof” of the spine, or lamina, is removed, and any damaged disc material is also removed.

A bone graft and screws are then inserted, which allows for the fusion of the spinal bone.


When conservative treatment approaches are not enough to help provide our patients with relief, a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedure might be considered.

Alexander Bone and Spine patients can typically expect to spend 1-2 days in the hospital for the treatment. Many of your symptoms can be alleviated right after the procedure, and our patients typically experience additional improvement over time.

Each patient’s case will vary, and all surgery carries some amount of risk, including infection, bleeding, blood clots, nerve damage, bowel, and bladder complications. You should talk with your specialist about potential risks for a TLIF treatment.

If you have questions about the TLIF treatment or would like to consult with Dr. Alexander and the Alexander Bone and Spine team about your condition, make an appointment to speak with us today!

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