GRADY MCBRIDE, M.D.

Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) is a procedure used to treat degenerative disc disease (DDD), degenerative spondylolisthesis or degenerative scoliosis. Unlike most mid to low back spine surgery which goes through the large muscles in the middle of your back and XLIF goes through the side of your body avoiding large muscle groups.

Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) allows the physician to avoid major large muscle groups in the center of the back and monitor nerve function while removing the damaged disc. The muscles are not cut; they are gently separated to allow the spine surgeon access to the spine and to the damaged disc. The damaged disc is removed and a small plastic cage filled with bone material is placed between the vertebrae. The cage fills the damaged space and the bone material attaches (over time) to the existing vertebrae to fuse the bones which will alleviate the movement that has been causing the patient’s pain.

Who is a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)?

A Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) may be right for you if you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease (DDD), degenerative scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, foraminal stenosis, lumbar or thoracic disc herniations. Based on your medical history, physical examination and MRI findings your spine surgeon will determine the best surgical option for your care.

What to Expect After a Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

As with any surgery you will experience some pain and discomfort. This is due to the incision and muscles being moved while surgery is being performed. If you had pain and numbness prior to your surgery, you may have these afterwards as well; especially if you had any delicate surgery around the nerve itself. This will gradually improve as you heal.

You will notice and increase in mobility as your pain and swelling subsides. You will still need to wear your 2 braces (1) Elastic abdominal binder/lumbar support and the (2) (TLSO). You will still need to wear the elastic brace when in bed or when sitting in a chair. If at any time you need to walk, or ride in a car, you will need to wear your TLSO brace.

Approximately 8 weeks after surgery you will begin physical therapy to help with conditioning and strengthening of your back muscles. This will help them heal and hopefully aide in alleviating damage to other areas of your spine.

Results of a Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

Minimally Invasive Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) removes the damaged disc and fuses the vertebrae together keeping the vertebrae and nerves from further damage. Patients generally have:

  • Reduction of back pain
  • Stabilization of an unstable spine
  • Medication reduction
  • Prevention of deterioration
  • Improved lower back and leg function
  • Improved work and recreational capacity
  • Improved quality of life

Just as with recovery time, the success of surgery will depend and vary by patient. All risks and benefits of spine surgery should be considered before making a decision. The spine surgeon will discuss all available options and treatments.

Think you're a candidate?

If you think you may be a candidate for one of these highly specialized procedures please contact my team!