Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion is novel approach used to bring two or more bones of your spine together surgically. It is a minimally invasive technique in which lumbar spine is surgically accessed from the side rather than the front or the back. The vertebrae are the bones that form the spine by stacking on top of each other, separated by rubbery discs known as intervertebral disc. Due to trauma, medical conditions and age-related changes, either you vertebra or the intervertebral disc may move out of place or become damaged. This can cause severe pain, discomfort difficulty in movement. To treat this, you may need surgical corrections.

Indications of minimally invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion

Minimally invasive extreme lateral interbody fusion may be indicated for a number of medical conditions including:

  • Degenerative disc diseases
  • Recurrent disc herniation
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Pseudarthrosis
  • Discitis
  • Vertebral osteomyelitis
  • Post-laminectomy instability
  • Junctional disease

Surgery may indicated in patients who have long-term back or leg pain that has poorlay responded to conservative methods such as steroid injections, physical therapy and pain medication.

Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion procedure

This type of surgery will be performed by an orthopaedic surgeon and takes place under general anaesthesia which puts you to sleep. Two small incisions are made, one over the side of the waist and the second slightly behind the first, toward the back muscles. Special instruments, will be inserted through the muscle on the side of the vertebrae, till the spinal disc visible. Next, the disc is removed and an implant and bone graft are placed into the empty space for fusion. Special screws, plates or rods may be used to hold the vertebrae in their position. Finally, the instruments are removed and the incision is surgically closed.

Postoperative patient-care

Post-surgery you may feel slight pain around the incision area which can be relieved with pain medications. Depending on your health and how the procedure went, you may be able to return home on the same day as the procedure or within a few days.

Since the muscles are not cut in this procedure, you may be able to walk the night after the surgery itself. You may be recommend a diet with high levels of protein, calcium and vitamin D to promote healing.


In many patients their pre-operative symptoms of pain and discomfort may be relieved immediately after surgery, or they may slowly decrease over period of few weeks. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities within a few months of surgery.


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