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Minimally Invasive Surgery
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 657342, 9 pages
Review Article

Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Perspective on Current Evidence and Clinical Knowledge

Department of Neurological Surgery, Northwestern University, Suite 2210, 676 N. St. Clair Street, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Received 17 March 2012; Accepted 17 June 2012

Academic Editor: Nicholas Slimack

Copyright © 2012 Ali Habib et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper reviews the current published data regarding open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) in relation to minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF). Introduction. MI-TLIF, a modern method for lumbar interbody arthrodesis, has allowed for a minimally invasive method to treat degenerative spinal pathologies. Currently, there is limited literature that compares TLIF directly to MI-TLIF. Thus, we seek to discuss the current literature on these techniques. Methods. Using a PubMed search, we reviewed recent publications of open and MI-TLIF, dating from 2002 to 2012. We discussed these studies and their findings in this paper, focusing on patient-reported outcomes as well as complications. Results. Data found in 14 articles of the literature was analyzed. Using these reports, we found mean follow-up was 20 months. The mean patient study size was 52. Seven of the articles directly compared outcomes of open TLIF with MI-TLIF, such as mean duration of surgery, length of post-operative stay, blood loss, and complications. Conclusion. Although high-class data comparing these two techniques is lacking, the current evidence supports MI-TLIF with outcomes comparable to that of the traditional, open technique. Further prospective, randomized studies will help to further our understanding of this minimally invasive technique.