Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) is a minimally invasive procedure and one of the recent advances in spine surgery. It involves fusing the lumbar spine in various pathologies. The incision is made from the side; the vital structures are retracted using small tubes. The diseased spine is exposed. The lumbar disc or the vertebral body is removed. Fusion graft/cage is inserted. Usually the incision is 3-5 cms. Typically this procedure is useful for lumbar disc regeneration, pseudoarthrosis, this procedure is combined with minimally invasive (percutaneous posterior spine stabilization.
Painful disc degeneration or disruption. It may also be used in the treatment of other spinal conditions.
You will be positioned on your side.
An incision is made in the side between the lower ribs and pelvis.
Fluoroscopy (live X-ray) is used to determine the correct level(s) to be operated.
The disc is approached after passing instruments through muscle layers.
Disc tissue is removed.
A fusion cage and/or bone graft is placed in the disc space.
Normal compression of the spine will hold the bone or cage in place.
Sometimes pedicle screws are placed to provide additional stability (see PLF) or a plate is placed on the side of the spine.
Lateral Fusion Surgery takes approximately 1-3 hours.
After the procedure
After the surgery, you will be in the recovery for some time and then will be shifted to your room.
You will be receiving medication intravenously including for pain.
If you are comfortable, you will be assisted out of bed on the same day or the day after the surgery.
A brace or corset may be prescribed for some time.
Certain exercises will be explained to you to do at home at the time of discharge or when you follow up with your spine doctor.
In any spine procedure, recovery is dependent on a lot of factors. It is hugely dependent on the age and health of the individual.
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