The standard method of spine surgery involving a long incision down the back is known as open surgery. Unlike regular surgical procedures, smaller incisions are used in minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). In most cases, MISS results in less damage to nearby muscles and other tissues. It may contribute to less pain and faster postoperative healing.
Minimally invasive spine surgery techniques such as extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) have grown in popularity. The use of XLIF in either the initial or revision spinal surgery is due to its shorter surgical times, minimal blood loss, fewer hospital stays, and faster recovery times. NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help explain any part of XLIF, including its benefits, potential post-surgery complications, and more.
Extreme lateral interbody fusion is a minimally-invasive technique that allows access to the anterior aspect of the spinal column. Most people with back pain will not undergo surgery. But, if you have back or leg problems that haven’t improved with pain medication, steroid injections, or physical therapy interventions, your doctor may recommend spine surgery. While spine surgery cannot treat all types of back problems, XLIF may help patients in a lot of pain.
XLIF has become the preferred surgical technique for treating various spinal disorders, such as:
Because of the minimal blood loss, tissue damage, and postoperative discomfort, XLIF is a viable option for high-risk patients with complicated spine surgery histories. If you are considering spine surgery, check with your physician if XLIF is an option.
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Compared to traditional spinal fusions, patients undergoing extreme lateral interbody fusion have excellent prognosis. This is due to its minimally-invasive nature, which facilitates shorter recovery times and low infection rates. Given its high success rate, this treatment is ideal for back and leg pain that has not been remedied by physical therapy or anti-inflammatory injections.
The XLIF procedure has revolutionized the treatment of back and leg pain caused by degenerative disc disease. In some cases, the majority of patients will recover quickly, with many being able to walk and go home within 24 hours of the treatment. Even patients wearing a back brace post-surgery can resume normal activities after six months. Physical therapy and gentle movement, like walking, are highly encouraged during recovery. Spinal fusion surgeries connect two or more bones in the spine to increase stability or alleviate pain.
An extreme lateral interbody fusion can be used to reshape a spine that curves sideways, as seen in scoliosis correction surgeries. Too much movement between two spinal bones can render the spine unstable. This is a common side effect of severe spine arthritis. XLIF may address spinal weakness and instability.
Inform your healthcare provider about your medications prior to your procedure, as you may need to discontinue them a few days before surgery. If you smoke, you should quit before your surgery as well, as nicotine or tobacco can delay healing.
Extreme lateral interbody fusion is a straightforward procedure performed under general anesthesia by an orthopedic surgeon and a trained medical team. Following intravenous anesthesia administration, the patient is positioned on their side at a 90-degree angle. The lateral approach helps reduce the risk of blood vessel, muscle, and nerve injury.
After determining the side through which the XLIF procedure will be performed on the body, the surgeon creates a small incision. Tubular dilators are positioned, then retractor units help move muscle tissue away from the spine and keep the skin incision open to access the affected area. After determining an optimal surgical path to access the spinal column, the diseased or damaged disc is removed to relieve pressure on the nerve root or spine.
Next, an implant containing a bone graft is inserted into the voided disc space to help relieve pressure on pinched nerves while aligning the spine. A Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) is often used to promote bone growth. As the fusion process takes place between the vertebrae, the implanted bone graft helps restore proper disc height and provides spine support. Once fusion occurs, that segment of the spine will eventually stabilize.
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Every surgery carries risks, including the XLIF surgical approach, which has been linked to multiple complications. Nerve damage is a frequently cited side effect following an XLIF operation. Though extremely rare in XLIFs, vascular injury of segmental arteries can occur during or shortly after the procedure.
XLIF may cause infection, muscle weakness, and long-term pain at the bone graft site. There is also a chance that the implant may fail to fuse the vertebrae, effectively causing disease progression. Following the procedure, conditions such as blood clotting, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, and stroke may develop.
Extreme lateral interbody fusion is a cutting-edge treatment with high success rates and minimal downtime for patients suffering from back and leg pain. The XLIF technique is quickly becoming a staple with spine surgeons worldwide. The use of smaller incisions, which results in less soft tissue damage, faster recovery times, and less postoperative pain, is among the many benefits of the minimally invasive procedure.
Because the spine is accessed from the side, little disruption occurs to major muscle groups and organs during extreme lateral interbody fusion. If you’re tired of living in pain and want to learn more about this life-changing procedure, contact NJ Spine & Orthopedic at (866) 553-0612 for a comprehensive consultation. You can also access all services offered by board-certified surgeons by completing our online contact form.
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