I have been told I need to have a spinal fusion from two different doctors; but one recommended a TLIF (Spinal surgeon) and one recommended a PLIF (my neurosurgeon; who also did my previous microdisectomies).
I have look through the internet and found articles which explain the difference, but I can’t seem to find anything related to why one would be used over the other.
Is it likely that each doctor chose the one they are more comfortable with? Do both have good chance of recovery? How do they differ in terms of risks, long-term success, etc.?
PLIF and TLIF are similar surgeries in many respects. The TLIF fully removes one facet joint on one side and requires less manipulation of the traversing nerve root. The PLIF preserves the facet joints bilaterally but requires greater manipulation of the nerve roots on both sides.
Performed by meticulous and experienced spine surgeons, both techniques are effective. For reference, I have switched from PLIF to TLIF 10 years ago but both can be successful surgeries. Recovery should be the same in both cases.