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XLIF in West Palm Beach, FL

eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat back pain generally caused by degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis and scoliosis. The procedure is performed through the patient’s side, avoiding the back muscles.

The XLIF is one of a number of spinal fusion options that a surgeon may recommend to treat specific types of lumbar spinal disorders, such as lumbar degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis and deformity and some recurrent lumbar disc herniations and types of lumbar stenosis. It cannot be used for all types of lumbar conditions for which spinal fusion is a treatment option.

It is a minimally invasive type of spine surgery designed to accomplish a spinal fusion with several advantages including:

  • Minimal tissue damage
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Small incisions and scars
  • Minimal post-operative discomfort
  • Relatively quick recovery time and return to normal function

Because of the above factors, it is one of a number of options for spinal fusion that are relatively minimally invasive. The XLIF is a type of interbody fusion, which is a category of fusion in which the disc in the front of the spine is removed and replaced with an implant containing a bone graft to set up the condition for the two vertebrae to fuse together through the disc space.

Technology Expands for Minimally Invasive Procedures

Thanks to technology that Dr. Theofilos utilizes, the patient won’t need the traditional, huge incision to perform the necessary spinal fusion. Instead, it’s performed with one or more tiny incisions and a medical device called a retractor that’s used to spread apart overlying tissue to give Dr. Theofilos a clear view of the spine. Dr. Theofilos can actually reach the spine via a lateral view from the side. This kind of technology allows a patient to get relief from back pain with minimal muscle and ligament tampering and no disruption to the abdominal muscles.

Recovery from XLIF

As with any kind of surgery, minimally invasive or not, recovery time varies among individuals. So much depends on the patient’s general health before the surgery, as well as their willingness to follow post-operative instructions to the letter. For the most part, however, a patient can expect to:

  • Get up and walk immediately following the procedure since no muscles were cut, but instead were just pulled slightly apart.
  • Feel some minor pain; after all, muscles were pulled apart and the body underwent some level of trauma from which it must heal.
  • Notice a major difference in the level of pain where they previously experienced it. In other words, a patient might notice right away that the lateral lumbar interbody fusion worked, instead of having to wait for a gradual return to normal day-to-day activity if they had a more traditional fusion surgery.