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eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion

eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) relieves pain and increases spinal stability by removing the damaged portion of a spinal disc and replacing it with a bone graft. Note: in this case, the word “eXtreme” does not mean “dangerous” or “risky,” as in “extreme sports.” Rather, it refers to the location of the body through which the surgeon performs the surgery – the “lateral extreme or side” of the body.

Benefits of XLIF

XLIF provides significant benefits when compared to more invasive procedures. Most important, the bone graft adds stability and will induce the body to grow more bone around the implant, which increases stability yet further. Additional benefits include reduced bleeding during and after the procedure, smaller incisions at the site of the procedure, smaller scars in the aftermath of the procedure, reduced levels of post-surgical pain or discomfort, and a more rapid return to normal physical activity.

Compared to traditional, “open” surgeries, which require long incisions, the minimally invasive approach used by North American Spine physicians results in less surgical trauma, less bone and tissue damage, and results in fewer complications and a reduced recovery period. Note: we do see patients whose previous spine surgeries are no longer providing them the relief they need.

To determine if you are a candidate for XLIF, contact one of our Patient Care Managers at 877.474.2225. If you have already seen a physician, send us a copy of your recent MRI or CT for review using the form on this page.

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Details of the XLIF

During the XLIF procedure, your surgeon will begin by making one small incision in your side, through which surgical instruments and tiny microscopes can enter. Using neuromonitoring to ensure that no nerve damage occurs, your surgeon will remove the damaged portion of the disc, freeing the entrapped nerve, and replace the space where the disc material was with a bone graft.

Preparing for the XLIF

Before pursuing an XLIF, prospective patients should have tried conservative methods, such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and spinal injections. If those methods have not produced meaningful relief, you may be a candidate for a North American Spine procedure.

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XLIF Recovery

XLIF is typically an inpatient procedure, meaning patients will stay 1-3 nights in the surgery center. Recovery, however, is quite rapid in comparison to traditional open back surgery. Patients will be walking the same day of surgery and performing light activity within a few weeks. More in-depth, customized recovery guidelines will be provided by your North American Spine physician. The vast majority of patients report a significant and lasting reduction of their pre-op symptoms.

While every surgery carries some risk of injury or infection, complications are rare. Your physician will counsel you on these risks prior to the procedure.

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Mary K.

Condition: Bulging Disc

Procedure: XLIF

“My back is 100% pain free.”

"On July 26, 2016, I had my back surgery. Within 24 hours of the surgery, I did not have any pain in my back, right buttock, down my right hip, down my thigh or in my right foot... The fourth week after surgery I am throwing out the garbage, climbing stairs and going to the grocery store by myself and pain free. On August 29, 2016, I returned to my former employer and am once again gainfully employed. My back is 100% pain free!"

Connect With A Patient

Some of our former patients have been kind enough to offer to speak with back and neck pain sufferers who are looking into treatment options. We encourage you to take them up on it! After we determine a treatment plan, we’ll connect you with a past patient who had a similar condition and procedure.

Connect with a Patient

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Our friendly Patient Care Managers are standing by and ready to help. Call us at 877.474.2225 or complete the form below, and we'll be in touch shortly.