Why is TLIF Performed, Know its Risks, Success Rate

Why is TLIF Performed?

TLIF which is known as Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion is a form of a spinal fusion surgery which is meant to stabilize the vertebra of the spine and the spinal discs. This surgery fuses two bones at the level where it is performed and forms a single solid bone, thus mitigating any movement between the bones of the affected vertebra thereby providing relief from pain and other neurological symptoms arising out of the affected level in the spinal canal. A TLIF is basically done for conditions like spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, or disc herniations.

Why is TLIF Performed?

Risks of TLIF Procedure

While there are many benefits from a TLIF procedure there are also certain inherent risks involved with this procedure. These risks involve failure to provide relief, infection, excessive blood loss, injury to adjacent neurovascular structures, possible need for future surgery and the risks of anesthesia, which include blood clots and pneumonia. Complete failure of the fusion is yet another risk that a TLIF poses. Thus, it is extremely essential for individuals who wish to undergo this procedure to carefully weigh the risk-benefit ratio before signing the consent for the procedure.

While there are risks inherent with any surgical procedure of the complexity that a TLIF procedure carries with it, a question that always comes to a patient’s mind is about the success rate of the procedure. This article gives a brief overview of the success rate of a TLIF or Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion procedure.

What is The Success Rate of A TLIF?

Coming to the success rate of a TLIF procedure, it depends on the complexity of the surgery, the overall age and health status of the individual, and other factors like the levels operated on.

In majority of the cases, studies have shown that more than 75 to 80% of people have expressed their satisfaction with the symptom relief that they have got after the TLIF surgery. These patients report more than 80 to 90% improvement in their pain and about 60% improvement in carrying out their activities of daily living without any discomfort and pain.

About 80% of people in these studies have expressed excellent relief in their symptoms after the TLIF procedure with almost 100% pain relief and almost full ability to carry out their activities of daily living and recreational activities like playing golf or other non-contact sport without any problems after the TLIF surgery. However, it should be noted here that in order for the TLIF surgery to be successful, the patient should be compliant by adhering to the instructions and recommendations given by their surgeon with regards to activities and other do’s and don’ts post a TLIF.

Further more, it can be clearly said from above that TLIF is a procedure which is quite successful and has a high success rate of over 80% in alleviating the symptoms of pain and nerve irritation caused due to conditions like spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, and other conditions of the spine. However, the success rate of TLIF procedure dips a little bit in individuals who do not adhere to the recommendations and restrictions imposed by their surgeons and start performing activities much before they actually should be doing after a TLIF surgery.


Success rate of any surgical procedure depends on the complexity of the procedure, the overall age, severity of the ailments, and health status of the patient. Similarly, TLIF procedure is no exception from other procedures, but still studies have shown a high success rate of over 80% in alleviating the symptoms for which the procedure is done.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 5, 2018

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