Spine Procedures


The XLIF procedure is a groundbreaking solution to pain caused by disc degeneration. The procedure typically lasts about an hour, and drastically cuts recovery times.

Understanding XLIF, or Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion

XLIF, or eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion, is a modern minimally invasive fusion procedure used commonly by doctors to minimize back pain caused by disc degeneration. Doctors usually recommend this procedure to patients who suffer from Degenerative Disc Disease, Degenerative Scoliosis, or other spinal deformities.

How it Works

The operation is carried out on the anterior lumbar spinal region with the patient lying on his or her side. The first small incision is made through the psoas muscle located next to the spine. The surgeon then makes a second incision through the lower trunk (flank), which is used for insertion of neuromonitoring instruments.

Through the initial incision, a retractor and probe are used to access the degenerated disc. The procedure can safely remove 2/3 of the disc, which is replaced with an artificial bone graft that allows for the fusing of the vertebral bodies. A cage made from bone is also inserted into the space to provide structural support during the healing process.

The Benefits of XLIF

XLIF has gained priority over open spinal surgery in the medical field because of its high success rates and decreased complications. The operation can be performed in about an hour and recovery usually lasts only 4 to 6 weeks, compared to the 6 to 12 months following open spinal procedures.

The minimally invasive approach through smaller incisions leads to less bleeding and tissue trauma in muscles of the back. Surgeons have also noted that there is less blood loss and fewer infections when performing XLIF surgery.

XLIF does involve restrictions like decreased accessibility to multiple vertebrae at a time. Sometimes individuals may need follow-up procedures involving additional support. However, there are very minimal risks to getting this procedure done and these factors vary from patient to patient.

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