An interbody fusion surgery is any surgery that is used to fuse (weld) two consecutive vertebras together. This is also required when the injury/damage to the vertebra requires a surgical treatment for replacing the damaged inter-vertebral disc with a bone-graft or an artificial implant. This requires using either an incision in the back or in the side to reach the injured vertebra and perform the required surgical treatment.
Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) surgery
The transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) surgical technique requires the surgeon to approach the spine from a side so as to avoid coming in excessive contact with the vital nerves in the spinal column. The surgeon will then remove the damaged vertebral disc from between two vertebras and replace it with either a bone graft or a ‘spacer’ implant made from plastic or metal. The ‘spacer’ is fixed in place with the help of surgical screws, plates or rods to help stabilize the two consecutive vertebras as well as to promote bone fusion between them.
Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) Surgery
The posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgery requires the surgeon to approach the spinal column from the back (posterior). The surgeon will access the spine through an incision in the lower back along the mid-line. The surgeon will next shift aside the muscles from around the lamina of the vertebra. The next step requires removing the lamina (laminectomy) to gain a clear access to the compressed/damaged spinal nerves. This allows the surgeon to decrease the pressure (spinal decompression) from the spinal nerves and alleviate the painful symptoms.
What are the advantages of TLIF and PLIF surgeries?
Both the approaches for performing the spinal fusion surgery have distinct advantages.
These are the advantages of TLIF surgery:
- Faster bone fusion as ‘spacer’ implanted between vertebras is fitted snugly and also covers the disc.
- The ‘spacer’ maintains the same functions of the natural inter-vertebral disc by allowing the exact height and distribution of weight among the vertebras.
- The side-ways approach helps to avoid damaging the nerve roots and spinal cord, decreasing the chances of further complications.
These are the advantages seen in a PLIF surgery:
- PLIF has a greater potential for fusion of the vertebras as the bone graft (or spacer) is inserted in the front part of the spine.
- More bone area in the front part of the spinal column allows for better and stronger fusion comparatively.
- This approach puts pressure on the vertebra which also helps the bone to heal faster.
What are the potential risks and complications seen in TLIF and PLIF surgeries?
In both the surgical approaches the surgical procedure itself carries certain similar risks, such as:
- Nerve injury
- Blood loss
- Possibility of requiring corrective surgery
- Increased/continued pain
- Blood clot
- Heart failure
How to choose between TLIF and PLIF surgeries?
The best way to choose between the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is to have a detailed consultation with your doctor/orthopedic specialist or the orthopedic surgeon treating you. They will be able to guide you in a better way by informing the pros and cons of both the surgical approaches depending on your individual case.
A surgical approach might be more advantageous than other for a particular case, and vice versa, depending on various factors, mainly on the patient’s age, overall health status as well as any underlying medical conditions.
Why choose Travcure for TLIF or PLIF surgery in India?
India is home to the world’s largest network of global-class healthcare facilities which as conveniently spread over all its major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, etc. These are equipped with the latest and most modern in healthcare and diagnostic equipments and technology for maximum efficiency. Travcure is well-connected to this high-quality healthcare network to provide efficient, advanced and affordable medical and surgical treatment for a large variety of medical disorders and diseases. Travcure is renowned for offering the best and most affordable transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) and posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgeries in India at the hands of the most experienced orthopedic surgeons from India.