The XLIF (eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion) is an approach to spinal fusion in which the surgeon accesses the intervertebral disc space and fuses the lumbar spine (low back) using a surgical approach from the side (lateral) rather than from the front (anterior) or the back (posterior).
Using minimally invasive surgical techniques(MIS), a tube is inserted through the incision. It is through this tube that the surgeon will perform the majority of the procedure. This minimally invasive surgical technique assures less blood loss, quicker recovery, and less scarring. In certain patients this can be done in an outpatient setting.
The XLIF is one of a number of spinal fusion options that a surgeon may recommend to treat specific types of lumbar spinal disorders, such as lumbar degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis and deformity and some recurrent lumbar disc herniations and types of lumbar stenosis. It is a minimally invasive type of spine surgery designed to accomplish a spinal fusion with several advantages including:
- Minimal tissue damage
- Minimal blood loss
- Small incisions and scars
- Minimal post-operative discomfort
- Relatively quick recovery time and return to normal function.
The XLIF is a type of interbody fusion, which is a category of fusion in which the disc in the front of the spine is removed and replaced with an implant containing a bone graft to set up the condition for the two vertebrae to fuse together through the disc space.