Evolution of the Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF): From Open to Percutaneous to Patient-Specific.


The transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) has seen significant evolution since its early inception, reflecting advancements in surgical techniques, patient safety, and outcomes. Originally described as an improvement over the posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF), the TLIF began as an open surgical procedure, that notably reduced the need for the extensive neural retractation that hindered the PLIF. In line with the broader practice of surgery, trending toward minimally invasive access, the TLIF was followed by the development of the minimally invasive TLIF (MIS-TLIF), a technique that further decreased tissue trauma and postoperative complications. Subsequent advancements, including Trans-Kambin's Triangle TLIF (percLIF) and transfacet LIF, have continued to refine surgical access, minimize surgical footprint, and reduce the risk of injury to the patient. The latest evolution, as we will describe it, the patient-specific TLIF, is a culmination of the aforementioned adaptations and incorporates advanced imaging and segmentation technologies into perioperative planning, allowing surgeons to tailor approaches based on individual patient anatomy and pathology. These developments signify a shift towards more precise methods in spine surgery. The ongoing evolution of the TLIF technique illustrates the dynamic nature of surgery and emphasizes the need for continued adaptation and refinement.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Drossopoulos, Peter N, Favour C Ononogbu-Uche, Troy Q Tabarestani, Chuan-Ching Huang, Mounica Paturu, Anas Bardeesi, Wilson Z Ray, Christopher I Shaffrey, et al. (2024). Evolution of the Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF): From Open to Percutaneous to Patient-Specific. Journal of clinical medicine, 13(8). p. 2271. 10.3390/jcm13082271 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/30650.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.


Courtney Rory Goodwin

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology, Orthopedic Surgery.
Director of Spine Oncology,
Associate Residency Program Director
Third Year Study Program Director Neurosciences, Duke University School of Medicine
Director of Spine Metastasis, Duke Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis, Department of Neurosurgery
Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center


Melissa Maria Erickson

Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I am a spine surgeon who provides surgical management of cervical, thoracic  and lumbar spine conditions, including cervical myelopathy, herniated discs, deformity, stenosis, tumor and trauma.  I provide both minimally invasive procedures as well as traditional surgical techniques.


Muhammad Abd-El-Barr

Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

As a Neurosurgeon with fellowship training in Spine Surgery, I have dedicated my professional life to treating patients with spine disorders. These include spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, herniated discs and spine tumors. I incorporate minimally-invasive spine (MIS) techniques whenever appropriate to minimize pain and length of stay, yet not compromise on achieving the goals of surgery, which is ultimately to get you back to the quality of life you once enjoyed. I was drawn to medicine and neurosurgery for the unique ability to incorporate the latest in technology and neuroscience to making patients better. I will treat you and your loved ones with the same kind of care I would want my loved ones to be treated with. In addition to my clinical practice, I will be working with Duke Bioengineers and Neurobiologists on important basic and translational questions surrounding spinal cord injuries (SCI), which we hope to bring to clinical relevance.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.