XLIF – or eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion – is an innovative approach to spine fusion, accessing the spine from the side of the body instead of the front or back like traditional methods.
The spine can be approached from the mid-thoracic spine to the L4-5 disc space in the lower back. This side entry means sensitive back muscles are not disturbed and no bone removal is required. This means less postoperative pain and early return to normal function. By avoiding a direct frontal approach, there is less risk of injury to structures in the abdomen such as the large blood vessels, bowel, and the kidney draining tubes. And because there is little muscle dissection, less bone work and smaller incisions, there is less blood loss, less operative time, and less pain to the patient as compared to standard open spine surgery.