Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF) is a minimally invasive procedure in which the surgeon approaches the disc space in the lower back (lumbar spine) from the patient’s side.
The surgeon can use XLIF to treat the region above L5-S1 in patients suffering from degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, recurrent disc herniation, and spinal instability in the lower back. The surgeon makes a small incision directly over the side of the waist. This procedure is less invasive than the typical lumbar fusion from either the front or the back. The spinal muscles are spared during this approach, leading to a faster recovery and typically less post-operative pain. The disc is removed, and a cage packed with porous bone graft is inserted in the empty disc space and secured with pedicle screws and rods. The bone grows through the holes in the cages, fusing the two vertebrae together.