This procedure is most commonly used to alleviate the pain and weakness associated with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine. There may be situations where a spondylolisthesis (vertebral slip) is also part of the pathology for this procedure.
The patient is positioned face down and a number of small (1cm) incisions are made and the screws are placed in both pedicles of each vertebral body. Thee surgeon will then perform a decompression and discectomy and will insert the intervertebral spacer through a small retractor. Rods will be added to complete the fusion construct.
Patients are usually discharged from the hospital after 1-2 days. With proper physical therapy and rehabilitation patients can get back to light activity after 6 weeks and can expect a full return to normalcy in 3-6 months.
Aside from being a relatively routine and successful procedure, the MIS TLIF has the added benefit of small incisions with less muscle and soft tissue disruption during the procedure.