A lateral lumbar interbody fusion is a surgical procedure to relieve pain and discomfort in the back or legs, generally resulting from degenerative disc disease.
Unlike traditional back surgery, we use XLIF and our minimally invasive procedure to perform this procedure through the patient’s side, avoiding working through any major muscles of the back and requiring much smaller incisions. The surgeon begins by making two small incisions in the patient’s side. A probe is inserted through one incision, and the surgeon uses a special x-ray machine to guide the probe to the proper position. Once the probe is in place, a series of dilating tubes are slid along the probe, followed by a retractor, which is used to move aside muscle tissue and create a working channel for the surgeon to reach the spine. The surgeon uses the working channel to remove the damaged disc, while using the second incision to help guide the surgical instruments.
Once the damage disc has been removed, the surgeon realigns the vertebrae by inserting a bone graft filled implant into the space where the disc was removed. Replacing the damaged disc also relieves pressure from nerve roots around the disc, as well as the pain the patient was experiencing. In time, the bone graft will grow in and around the implant, forming a solid bone bridge, or fusion, between the adjacent vertebrae.