Thanks to advancements in imaging technology and specialized instruments, skilled surgeons can perform XLIF with safety and greater precision, resulting in better outcomes for patients with various spinal illnesses. Here’s everything you need to know about extreme lateral interbody fusion and how the compassionate spine specialists at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery can help.

How Can Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion Help?

XLIF has grown in popularity in recent years due to its minimally-invasive methods. It’s among the spinal fusion surgeries your doctor may propose in order to treat certain spinal disorders, such as scoliosis, lumbar degenerative disc disease, spinal deformity, and spondylolisthesis. An extreme lateral interbody fusion technique can also treat some types of lumbar stenosis and recurrent lumbar disc herniation. The fusion rate after extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion is higher than traditional lumbar approaches.

This makes it ideal for relieving back and leg pain that hasn’t responded to steroid injections or physical therapy. The disadvantage of the XLIF approach is its inability to fully address nerve impingement at the back or lower parts of the spine. Make sure you meet with a spine specialist to see if you could benefit from XLIF treatment.

Who Would Benefit From XLIF?

XLIF surgery candidates typically have degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, or scoliosis. They may have also not had luck with previous treatments, such as physical therapy, medication, or injections. Patients must have realistic expectations and be committed to following postoperative instructions to ensure a successful recovery. Due to the increased risks involved, patients with certain medical conditions, such as obesity or osteoporosis, may not be good candidates.

As discussed below, a spine surgeon will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if XLIF surgery is appropriate for a specific patient’s unique circumstances. Evaluation for XLIF surgery includes thoroughly reviewing the patient’s medical history, physical exam, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. 

Pre-surgery education is an essential part of preparing for XLIF surgery. The surgical procedure, risks, and potential complications should be exhaustively explained to patients. They should be familiar with postoperative recovery, pain management, and mobility limitations. Pre-operative assessment is also essential for identifying potential risks, educating patients, and ensuring a safe and successful surgical outcome.

Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion Surgical Technique

XLIF typically takes about an hour and is performed under local anesthesia so that you are asleep during the procedure. The surgeon will use an X-ray to locate the disc to be operated on and mark your skin above the disc with a marker. They then will make a small incision and remove the diseased disc and surrounding bone using specialized instruments.

The disc space is then filled with an interbody cage, which provides adequate spine support and stability. This technique causes less muscle damage and requires less recovery time than traditional spinal fusion surgery. Overall, the XLIF procedure has numerous advantages. It’s highly endorsed as a safe and effective option for those suffering from spinal conditions that necessitate surgical intervention.

Postoperative Recovery and Potential Complications Following XLIF Surgery

Following a successful XLIF procedure, the patient may experience pain and discomfort, which can be managed with doctor-prescribed medication. The patient is advised to rest and avoid strenuous activities for several weeks. Physical therapy may also help strengthen the muscles and improve mobility. In addition, the patient is given detailed instructions on how to care for the incision site. 

The length of recovery depends on the patient’s overall physical health and the extent of the surgery. Surgeons will advise patients when it is safe to resume daily activities, work, or exercise. Most can resume normal activities within a few weeks or months of surgery by adhering to proper postoperative care. 

The XLIF procedure, like any surgery, has potential complications that may include nerve damage, infection, bleeding, and insufficient fusion. This type of operation may also aggravate pre-existing conditions, such as osteoporosis or spinal instability. Working with a spine specialist from Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery can help you answer any questions you may have about the recovery process.   

Contact Expert Florida Spine Doctors at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery Today

Most spinal conditions can be treated without surgery. Physical therapy, exercises, and medication are common components of your initial consultation with our spine specialists. However, if non-surgical treatment interventions do not provide relief, one of our specialists may recommend extreme lateral interbody fusion instead.

Our team works collaboratively to discuss the most appropriate treatment option for your condition to help relieve pain, restore function, and allow you to resume an active lifestyle. Contact Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery at (855) 853-6542 or fill out our contact form to schedule an in-depth consultation today.

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