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Anyone know the difference between the open TLIF and MIS TLIF?

mkim680mmkim680 Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just got back from another consultation and it left me even confused. The doctor gave me the reasons why the open tlif is preferred than the MIS approach. All this time, i had settled on the MIS TLIF approach because of the shorter hospital stay, less muscle dissection, and quicker recovery time. After this initial consult, I am having second doubts. Please if anyone can answer that would be great. I just want to know the pros and cons of each approach.



  • hi, I believe what you are asking is the difference between minimally invasive and open back surgery, correct?
    My own neurosurgeon told me that he preferred to do the open back surgery because he felt it was optimal in the situation, he felt that it was more successful and that under normal circumstances the length of the surgery and stay would not be too much longer than the minimally invasive.
    I think my own experience may be different that others, I had to have 2 surgeries this year, cervical and lumbar. I also had some complications with each so the recovery has been much longer than anticipated.
    there are lots of wonderful success stories here on the site, I hope you hear back from some of the great folks here soon.
    I find that you need to find the doctor you trust and then go with what he feels will give you the best outcome.

    wishing you the very best!
  • Yep, I think you mean Minimally Invasive vs. open.
    You can read on the difference but they are both the same surgery. Meaning, both are BIG surgeries that are essentially removing the bad disc, inserting a spacer and some of your own bone or cadeavor bone, then putting in Hardware to keep the spine aligned until you fuse. Hardware is really dependent on where the fusion is being done. I know in the lumbar, they would generally put in screws and rods into the 2 levels to anchor them.

    Minimally invasive means they use smaller incision. The pros to this are less disruption to the muscles and therefore the incision will heal more quickly and your muscles will have an easier time. The downside is sometimes it is an obstructed view for the surgeon so tougher to be sure they got all the disc material out, etc.

    Open means they use the traditional method which is a larger incision and they cut through the muscle. The obvious pro is that the doctor has full view of everything he's doing and isn't relying on some of the newer technologies to be his 'eyes'. The downside is the incision is bigger and in my mind means more liklihood of infection at the incision site and a longer 'incision' recovery.

    Both, from my understanding, are the same recovery as far as the fusion goes.

    I didn't have one but my surgeon does do MI TLIFs. He did tell me that he generally knows before going in if the patient is a good candidate or not.

    hope that helps.
  • I had open PLIF on L5/S1 back in March of this year. My surface incision is about 5 inches long. My surgeon did not make internal incision that long though. He only made the internal incision through the muscles and such only in the area of the two vetebrae and disc space he was working on. I had spondy and there was a lont of extra clean up that needed done so the open procedure was the best option for me. My surgery was on a Friday morning and I went home on late Sunday afternoon. My surgeon didn't even give me a choice of minimally invasive.
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