WHAT IS AN XLIF PROCEDURE?
Extreme lateral interbody fusion, or XLIF, is a minimally-invasive spinal fusion procedure performed through the side of the body to treat spinal conditions in hopes of significantly reducing long-term back or leg pain that has been previously nonresponsive to other medical treatments, such as steroid injections, physical therapy and pain medication.
Rather than accessing the posterior (back) or anterior (front) part of the body, the XLIF procedure differs from traditional surgery in that the surgeon accesses the space between each spinal disc from the patient’s side. Most spinal specialists report that the XLIF procedure limits the involvement of major back muscles, bones and ligaments. As Grant Booher, MD of Fort Worth Brain and Spine comments, “XLIF has the advantage in that it’s minimally invasive with minimal blood loss, less pain and often times my patients are discharged home 1 day after surgery.”
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGE OF AN XLIF PROCEDURE?
- Reduced surgery time — XLIF can be completed in as little as an 60 minutes, reducing the time the patient is in surgery and under anesthesia.
- Limited blood loss and scarring — Minimally-invasive procedures result in the disruption of the least amount of tissue, resulting in less overall blood loss.
- Mitigated pain — Since the surgeon accesses the intervertebral disc space from the lateral side of the patients, XLIF limits disruption in the sensitive back muscles, bones or ligaments. Many patients walk the same day of the surgery.
- Shortened hospitalization — In some cases, XLIF requires only one overnight stay at the hospital.
- Quicker return to activity — Although full recovery takes a few months, most patients walk within the first 24 hours and experience a faster return to every day activities.