Spondylolisthesis is a condition wherein one spinal bone in the lower back slips forward on top of the lower one. Usually, it is L4 over L5 or L5 over S1.
These patients can develop back pain or develop pain in the legs as a result of pinching of nerves in the back consequent to the shifting of bones.
If symptoms are mild to moderate, then Physiotherapy and exercises can help control the symptoms. But, if symptoms are severe or if the patient starts developing paralysis then a Lumbar Fusion operation using the Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) approach will relieve the patient.
What to expect from a Lumbar Fusion operation?
This operation is done from the back. In this operation, titanium screws are inserted in 2 spinal bones and the disc between them is taken out in entirety while protecting the spinal nerves. Then, a plastic cage filled with bone graft is packed in the place of the disc so that over a period of time, bone grows between the two bones and they become fused (joined) to each other. This eliminates any further risk of slipping and relieves the patient’s pain.
The incision size is about 4-6 cm. The typical hospital stay for Lumbar Fusion is 5-6 days. You can expect to walk the next day after surgery. You will be pretty much independent by the time of discharge. You can expect to join back work at 4-6 weeks. TLIF can be done by Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery[MISS-TLIF], using small cuts with no external stitches, thereby reducing the hospital stay and blood loss. The success rate for a Lumbar Fusion is 90-95 percent with a small complication rate of 2-4 percent.