A minimally invasive TLIF is a fusion procedure done through very small incisions typically one inch or less. There are no sutures to remove. This procedure is done all through the back. A small tube is placed in between the muscle fibers to preserve muscles, tendons and ligaments. The surgery is performed through the tube with specialized instruments and microscopes. The facet joint on one side is removed to gain access to the disc. The nerves are freed up to relieve any leg pain. The disc is then carefully removed and a spacer block with bone graft is placed into the disc space. The two vertebrae will grow into the bone graft to create the fusion of the two bones. Next titanium screws are placed into the vertebrae to help stabilize the bones to promote the successful healing of the bones together.
This procedure is minimally invasive and is sutureless.
Not all patients and procedures are the same. The above is an example of what the typical patient can expect from some minimally invasive procedures.