XLIF (eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion) is a type of minimally-invasive spinal fusion surgery used to treat lumbar spinal conditions. XLIF is a new and advanced approach to spinal fusion that greatly reduces post-op pain and recovery time when compared to traditional methods. During the procedure, the patient is positioned on their side and the spine is accessed from the side of the body. This allows the surgeon to access the space between each spinal disc without having to work through major muscles, organs, and tissue.
Our experienced spine surgeons are extremely proficient with this procedure, making ProMed SPINE the optimal choice for back and spine treatment.
How is XLIF Performed?
XLIF is considered a minimally-invasive spinal treatment since the procedure requires only a couple very small incisions (rather than the traditional large one). An instrument known as a retractor is utilized in order to spread the internal tissues and permit the surgeon to work through them with minimal disruption. The procedure uses a dilator and retractor system known as MaXcess to allow the surgeon to better access the spine through the side of the body. The MaXcess retractor system eliminates the need for traumatic tissue cutting since the surrounding tissue is dilated instead of cut.
During an XLIF procedure, the patient is placed on their side and two tiny incisions are made. One of the incisions is made at the side of the waist and the other behind it near the back muscles. The surgery is done through the psoas muscle, which is a muscle located alongside the spine. Most of the operation is done through the first incision often under a microscope or endoscopically while the surgeon uses the second incision to help guide the instruments with his finger.
The procedure is much shorter in duration than other fusion methods, lasting as little as one hour. Since the XLIF approach is also much less disruptive to muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tissue, the actual disc removal and replacement can be performed more effectively. The amount of blood loss from this operation is often minimal (about a spoon full).
Who is a Candidate for this Spinal Surgery?
Our expert back doctors will always attempt to treat back conditions with non-invasive methods such as therapy or steroid injections. Not until these conservative methods fail to alleviate symptoms will surgery be necessary. The XLIF procedure can be used to treat a variety of spinal conditions and disorders that require fusion. Some of these include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Failed back syndrome
- Recurrent lumbar disc herniation
Although XLIF can be used to successfully treat these lumbar spine conditions with fusion, it may not be used in all cases. Some examples of when this procedure is not an option include:
- When the condition is in the lowest levels of the spine (L5-S1). This section is below the pelvic brim, making surgical access from the side unmanageable. Some patients may even have a larger range of limitation.
- Systematic infection
- Patients with a high grade of spondylolisthesis
- Bilateral retroperitoneal scarring – which can be from prior surgery
Every case is different, so it is very important to make an appointment to discuss all possible treatment options with your surgeon. Dr. Gravori and his team have expertise in many varying types of spinal procedures and will find the best course of treatment for definitive relief from your condition.
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Advantages to XLIF Back Surgery
Due to the nature of the minimally-invasive XLIF procedure and how it is performed, there are many obvious advantages to using XLIF over the more traditional approaches. Since this procedure doesn’t require any dissection or retraction of the nerves, ligaments, or tissue, the body is able to heal faster and the inherent risks that go with a spine procedure are reduced. Along with the minimal tissue disruption, some of the advantages include:
- Smaller incisions and less scarring
- Minimal post-op pain and reduced discomfort
- Faster recovery and quick return to normal activities and back function
- Short procedure (1 hour) and no overnight hospital stay
- Minimal loss of blood
XLIF can be a great treatment option for certain spine conditions. As a reliable fusion method along with the innovative process of the procedure give XLIF many advantages over the more traditional fusion surgeries. Since it is not available in all cases, it’s important that you make an appointment for a consultation to speak with an expert spine surgeon about your options. As experts with the XLIF method, our surgeons can offer the best available treatment for any lumbar spinal condition.
Contact an Endoscopic Spine Surgeon in LA
Our spine surgeons have the expertise necessary to perform XLIF surgery and give patients the relief they deserve. We offer a comprehensive consultation in order to determine whether or not this surgery is the most suitable option for you. If you are not a candidate, we will find the best possible means of treatment for your case. If you are a patient who may need XLIF surgery in Beverly Hills, Encino, or Valencia, please contact our spine treatment center today.
Next, learn about TLIF surgery.