Everybody will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. Fortunately, the pain gets better on its own. But, when the pain gets severe, painkillers and certain home remedies might help. If the pain is caused by a specific condition and is not relieved with medicines, then Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) may be an appropriate option.
Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is a surgical procedure used for the management of disc problems in the lower back. It is done to permanently fuse two or more spine bones by using a bone graft. This eliminates movement between the bones, thereby reducing pain and nerve irritation.
You may be considered as the best candidate for TLIF if you have the following conditions:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Mild to moderate scoliosis
- Symptoms that did not improve with physical therapy or medicines
- However, after examining your condition, the doctor decides whether you are eligible for TLIF or not.
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
Medical and medication history of the person will be reviewed. The surgeon will now perform a physical examination to look for spine curvature and to assess the region from where the pain is originating and radiating. Pre-surgical tests, such as a blood test, chest X-rays, and ECG, would be done to evaluate your overall health condition before undergoing surgery.
Follow the below-given instructions to have an uneventful surgery:
- Take the medicines prescribed by your doctor.
- Stop taking blood thinners and painkillers one to two weeks before the surgery or as suggested by your doctor.
- Quit smoking and the use of tobacco in any form
- Avoid alcohol consumption at least one week before the surgery
- Inform your doctor regarding the use of current medications or vitamin supplements
- Notify your doctor if you have any allergies
- Ask your doctor if you should restrict any food
The doctor will administer general anaesthesia to make you unconscious. Once you are unconscious, you would be placed face-down on the surgical bed. The doctor will now begin the procedure by making a small incision on the middle region of your lower back. Now, under the guidance of X-ray machine, the surgeon will pass a series of dilating tubes into the muscle and soft tissue to keep them intact. The surgeon will now remove the disc present between the affected vertebrae. Next, a bone graft will be placed in the empty disc space. This realigns the spine bones and relieves pain caused by pressure on the nerve roots. For additional support, the surgeon will also place the pedicle screws and rods in the back. Finally, the surgeon will stitch the incision and cover it with a sterile bandage.
Pain is common around the site of incision for a few days. This can be managed by taking the prescribed medicines regularly. Depending on the reason for performing TLIF and recovery, the doctor will decide your hospital stay. From the next day after the surgery, you can begin physiotherapy. However, strenuous exercises and lifting heavy weights are strictly prohibited for at least six weeks.
The following tips help you heal quickly:
- Have a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Take short walks regularly
- Keep the incision clean and dry
- Take adequate rest
- Maintain proper posture while sitting
- Do not bend or twist
- Avoid sitting for a long duration
- Wear the brace as instructed by your doctor
- Take the prescribed medicines
- Follow-up regularly
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of TLIF surgery depends on several factors. This includes:
- Location of hospital
- Type of hospital
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital stay
- Current medications
- Follow-up visits