The difference between PLIF and TLIF is not a big one. The fusion rate should be the same. TLIF however only requires the retraction of one nerve root for the surgery and PLIF requires the retraction of both sides. It is rare to have a nerve root “complain” from retraction but if you want to split hairs, there is slightly more chance of an irritable nerve root from a PLIF than a TLIF.
There always is a difference in “style” between surgeons. Find the one that you think is the most competent and educates you the most completely regarding his or her type of approach. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.