Lumbar interbody fusion surgeries primarily aim to stabilise the lumbar spine vertebrae. ‘Interbody fusion’ literally means joining adjacent vertebrae by removing the intervertebral disc. However, this surgery has different approaches through the front and back of the lumbar spine.
Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) is one such approach that is performed through an incision at the back. It differs from the Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgical approach, which is also performed through the back, and again differs from Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF), which is done from the front, through the abdomen.
Dr. Sherief considers various factors related to the patient before recommending a particular approach – for TLIF surgery in Dubai.
What is TLIF surgery?
TLIF surgery is an advanced lumbar spine surgery in which a fusion cage is inserted into the disc space from one of the two rear facet joints of the lumbar vertebrae.
Unlike PLIF, which accesses the spine through both facet joints, TLIF involves a less invasive incision to access one of the facet joints without significant retraction of the dura and nerve roots. The surgeon takes an inclined trajectory to perform this surgery that does not require significant muscle retraction, reducing post-operative recovery and pain at the incision site.
When is TLIF recommended?
Symptoms most commonly managed through TLIF spine surgery in Dubai include:
- Varying back pain while standing and walking
- Abnormality in back postures, such as constantly leaning forward
- Tingling sensations in the lower limbs
- Lower back pain and pain in the buttocks
- Sciatic pain, ‘pins and needles’ or numbness in the lower limbs
- Bladder or bowel dysfunction (incontinence)
TLIF spine surgery in Dubai is recommended to treat the following spine conditions:
- Disc prolapses or a slipped disc
- Recurrent disc herniations
- Symptomatic Spondylolysis
- Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
- Facet joint pain
How is the lumbar spine treated with TLIF?
Any TLIF surgery in Dubai is performed under anaesthesia, so the patient is unconscious throughout the procedure. Dr. Sherief recommends wearing calf compression devices after surgery to minimise pain and mobilization post-surgery and also reduce the risk of developing blood clots in the patient’s legs.
The surgery is executed in the following steps.
Step 1: Incision & access
First, the surgeon creates a 6-10 cm incision over the skin to access the affected vertebrae without disturbing the nerve roots. Next, the facet joint on the side of the incision of the vertebral bones is removed to gain access to the damaged disc. The surgeon uses minimally invasive tools to create these openings.
Step 2: Microdiscectomy
Part of the outer fibrous ring of the damaged disc is removed, followed by the inner nucleus of the disc. But some part of the fibrous disc wall is left intact to support the graft. The hollowed space between the vertebrae is prepared for fusion steps.
Step 3: Anterior & Posterior Spine Fusion
The surgeon uses a prosthetic interbody cage filled with bone grafts or an antibiotic-loaded spacer graft. While natural bone grafts are usually taken from the pelvic bone, spacer grafts are created to replicate a bone structure such that natural bone grows around it. While the graft supports the anterior region of the vertebrae, the posterior part is stabilised with rods and pedicle screws.
Step 4: Closure
The surgeon ensures that no nerves are under pressure, and the site is checked for excess bleeding. The incisions are closed with dissolving sutures or staples.
How is TLIF surgery a benefit to the spine?
While the benefits from TLIF surgery can vary for every patient based on various factors, some common results offered by this surgery include:
- Significant decrease in leg pain, pins, and needle sensation, or numbness
- Reduced back pain intensity
- Better stability in various postures
Dr Sherief will explain the unique benefits you can gain from this surgical approach after diagnosing your lumbar spine condition.
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Dr Sherief for your TLIF spine surgery in Dubai?
Dr Sherief Elsayed is a renowned TLIF surgeon in Dubai. He is extensively trained and highly skilled in treating patients with spinal conditions. His patient reviews are a testament to his effective treatment techniques and caring and comforting approach. To consult Dr. Sherief personally for any spine condition, please book an appointment.