Types of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

MIS TLIF Minimally Invasive Fusion


How is a minimally invasive lumbar fusion different from a conventional fusion?

The goal of a fusion is to re-align the spine and fuse the vertebrae into one solid piece of bone to eliminate abnormal motion that causes pain. Conventional open lumbar fusions are performed through a midline incision that detaches important stabilizing muscles around the spine. Minimally invasive lumbar fusions are performed through two 1-inch incisions on either side of the spine by gently separating the muscles surrounding the spine, rather than cutting through them. These small incisions minimize structural damage to bones and muscles such as the multifidus, which is important for spine stability. Less structural damage leads to more rapid recovery and faster return to activities after spinal fusion surgery.


Dr. Kim will use the latest, state of the art minimally invasive instruments to realign your spine. Neuromonitoring will be used to assess the nerves and computer navigation will allow Dr. Kim to know where everything is in 3-dimensional space throughout the surgery. Dr. Kim is in contact with patient’s family members during and after surgery. Patients stay overnight in a private room and go home the next day.

MIS TLIF After Surgery

  • Walking – Walking with good posture is the single most important thing you can do to regain your strength and speed up your recovery. You should take several short walks throughout the day and gradually increase the distance and frequency of your walks.
  • Showering/Bathing – You may shower with the dressing for 3 days, after which you may continue to shower with the incision uncovered. It is important that you do not submerge the incision site in water for at least 6 weeks.
  • Return to Work – If you have a sedentary job, you may return to work around 6 weeks after surgery. If your job is physically demanding, you may return to work around 3 months after surgery. Dr. Kim recommends returning on a part-time basis with limited duties before returning full time without restrictions.
  • Golfing – Around 3 months after surgery, you may begin chipping and putting. If these are not painful you can move to the driving range starting with short-irons, then mid-irons and afterwards long-irons.

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