Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) is typically used to treat leg or back pain caused by degenerative disc disease.
An XLIF procedure typically involves one small incision on the patient’s side. The surgeon inserts a probe and guides surgical instruments in the incision. The probe is used to help avoid interrupting the nerves. X-ray images guide the probe to the proper place in the spine. Using dilation tubes and a retraction device the surgeon gains access to the spine and removes the damaged disc. Once the disc is removed an implant filled with bone graft is placed in the empty disc space. This realigns the spine and relieves pressure from pinched nerve roots.
Using the XLIF procedure, instead of traditional spine surgery, the surgeon avoids cutting into major muscles by making the incision in the patient’s side — which can mean less post-operative pain. This procedure is generally performed in an outpatient setting or 23 hour stay.