Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery TLIF Advantages

March 19, 2021 by Juris Shibayama, MD
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Has your spine surgeon recommended an incision from the front and the back for your fusion?

When lumbar spinal fusion surgery is performed, there are several different approaches that can be selected. One option is an incision in the front and an incision in the back. This is called an anterior lumbar interbody fusion or an ALIF.  Although this is one option to do a lumbar fusion surgery, better options exist.

A minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF) can be performed through two incisions that are 1 inch each (shown in picture above).  This accomplishes the same surgical goal as an ALIF. It is much less invasive and can frequently be done on an outpatient basis.

Some surgeons will even suggest doing the front incision under one surgical setting and then bring the patient back for a second surgery to do the incision on the back. While there is nothing technically wrong with that approach, it is a tremendous amount of surgery, anesthesia, and muscle tissue trauma.

A minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF) is a much better option for the same result. Although the fusion rate for an ALIF is slightly higher than that for an MIS TLIF, the small difference in fusion rates does not justify the extra morbidity and surgical trauma, hospital stay time, and increased pain from the surgery.

If your surgeon has suggested a lumbar fusion surgery with an incision in the front and the back, it would be a good idea to get a second opinion from Dr. Shibayama to see if you are a candidate for a minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF) potentially on an outpatient basis.

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In Short Words

Dr. Juris Shibayama is an orthopedic surgeon in Smyrna, Tennessee and is affiliated TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center. He received his medical degree from University of Illinois College of Medicine. He did his orthopedic residency training at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL. He then completed a one year fellowship dedicated exclusively to spine surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. He has been in practice 13 years.

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