TLIF Brings Minimally Invasive Approach to Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive TLIF(Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion) is a relatively new advancement in back surgery that is benefiting many patients with chronic back pain, according to Dr. Navin Subramanian a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with fellowship training in spine surgery of Orthopaedic Associates in Houston, Texas.

Minimally invasive TLIF has helped Pamela Taylor recover from chronic pain and the loss of use of her legs. “It was Thanksgiving 2009 and I couldn’t walk,” says Taylor. “I had lower back pain before that was being treated by my family physician, but this was a shock. My husband had to carry me to the car.”

TLIF is a highly advanced surgical fusion technique used to treat certain conditions of the spine which result in lower back and leg pain. Traditionally, the TLIF procedure has been done using an open technique with a large incision, requiring an extended hospital stay, a prolonged recovery period, and a delayed return to work. This modern TLIF technique decreases post-operative pain, hospital stay, recovery time and time off work.

Taylor had minimally invasive TLIF surgery in December 2009 and found the recovery easier than she thought. “I only had a little pain medication and was able to drive within a month.” A year later, she is so happy with her pain-free lifestyle that she referred a friend who also had the surgery and has recovered from chronic back pain.

TLIF is performed to alleviate severe, chronic lower back and leg pain associated with herniated discs, degenerative disk disease, spondylosis / spondylolisthesis (spinal osteoarthritis), and other related conditions. With the minimally invasive surgery (MIS), patients report relief almost immediately after surgery, have an overnight stay and can usually return to work within two weeks, according to Dr. Subramanian.

As with most MIS procedures, the patients benefit from shorter recovery and rehabilitation times, decreased pain, less blood loss, and less scarring. “Most patients go home after only one night in a hospital or short-term outpatient facility,” according to Dr. Subramanian.

Betty Bourg of Kingwood recalls how she was afraid of back surgery. “There are so many bad stories,” says Bourg, who had back pain for two years and couldn’t sleep. “The doctor was very reassuring and let me make up my mind in my own time. I am glad I did this minimally invasive TLIF surgery because now I lead a better life.”

Patients like Bourg recover and begin walking almost immediately after surgery. She has two small scars, just over 1 inch each, from the minimally invasive incisions. “I would tell anyone to have this back surgery and not put if off. It’s great to live without pain.”

Dr. Subramanian can be contacted at (713) 650-6900 or at http://www.oadoc.com


Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Spine Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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