The aim of this study was to compare our experience with minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MITLIF) and open midline transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). A total of 36 patients suffering from isthmic spondylolisthesis or degenerative disc disease were operated with either a MITLIF (n=18) or an open TLIF technique (n=18) with an average follow-up of 22 and 24 months, respectively. Clinical outcome was assessed using the visual analogue scale (VAS) and the Oswestry disability index (ODI). There was no difference in length of surgery between the two groups. The MITLIF group resulted in a significant reduction of blood loss and had a shorter length of hospital stay. No difference was observed in postoperative pain, initial analgesia consumption, VAS or ODI between the groups. Three pseudarthroses were observed in the MITLIF group although this was not statistically significant. A steeper learning effect was observed for the MITLIF group.