Types of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
“Endo TLIF” refers to a revolutionary minimally invasive procedure whereby an endoscope (“endo”) is utilized to perform a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (“TLIF”).
The interbody fusion (removal of the disc and placement of a spacer between the vertebrae) is performed through a tiny (1cm) incision in the flank. Then the fusion is supported with screws through two 1-inch incisions on either side of the spine.
These tiny incisions greatly minimize structural damage to bones and muscles such as the multifidus, which is crucial for spine stability. Less structural damage leads to more rapid recovery and return to activities after spinal fusion surgery.
Why do I need a Fusion?
When trauma or degeneration of the spine leads to instability and abnormal motion or nerve compression, a fusion may be needed.
How is Endo TLIF different from open or traditional minimally invasive lumbar fusions (MIS TLIF)?
Conventional open lumbar fusions are performed through a midline incision that detaches many of the important spine stabilizing muscles and is quite invasive.
Traditional minimally invasive lumbar fusions are performed by gently separating the muscles surrounding the spine, rather than cutting through them. The operative, window, however, is about 1 inch in diameter.
The Endo LIF operative window is about 1 centimeter in diameter and allows for access to the disc through gentle dilation of muscles and a natural opening in the spine called the neuroforamen. Because the surgery takes place through this natural opening, there is only very minimal tissue or bony disruption leading to a faster, less painful recovery.
What About Laser?
A laser and a radiofrequency probe are used during the surgery to vaporize and shrink tissues as well as control bleeding.