Methods of discectomy and lumbar decompression continue to evolve in efforts to perform a surgical decompression. A direct decompression simply requires an operative corridor in which to access the spinal canal. We can study the same approach as some of the latest fusion techniques, including approaches from the anterior, posterior, lateral, and posterolateral. The transforaminal interbody lumbar fusion (TLIF) method developed by Harms  is a modification of the posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) method. The procedure varies primarily in the access to the spine, being a unilateral, posterolateral approach to the spine . This is important to understand because it is an approach that can be used for various surgical goals, including discectomy, laminectomy, and interbody fusion.
Olsen D, McCord D, Law M. Laparoscopic discectomy with anterior interbody fusion of L5-S1. Surg Endosc. 1996;10:1158–1163.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Regan JJ, Aronoff RJ, Ohnmeiss DD, et al. Laparoscopic approach to L4–L5 for interbody fusion using BAK cages: experience in the first 58 cases. Spine. 1999;24:2171–2174.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Regan JJ, Yuan H, McAfee PC. Laparoscopic fusion of the lumbar spine: minimally invasive spine surgery. A prospective multicenter study evaluating open and laparoscopic lumbar fusion. Spine. 1999;24:402–411.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Zdeblick TA, David SM. A prospective comparison of surgical approach for anterior L4–L5 fusion: laparoscopic versus mini anterior lumbar interbody fusion. Spine.2000;25:2682–2687.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Ozgur BM, et al. Minimally-invasive technique for transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). Eur Spine J. 2005 November;14(9):887–894. Epub 2005 September 8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Mayer HM, editor. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: A Surgical Manual. 2nd ed. Berlin: Springer; 2006. p. 361.Google Scholar