We prefer percutaneous pedicles screws with XLIF (extreme lateral interbody fusion) in the majority of cases, but TILF transforaminal (removing one entire facet joint) interbody lumbar fusion and ALIF (anterior incision in the abdomen) anterior lumbar interbody fusion remain the best option in selected cases.
The XLIF procedure for lumbar fusion was developed to overcome the obstacles of both anterior (front) and posterior (back) approaches to access the spine.
XLIF avoids significant musculature disruption by utilizing a natural path from the side of the body to the spine and provides significant benefits to patients, including reduced surgery time, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and significantly faster recovery time.
The XLIF approach does not require back muscle and bone dissection or nerve retraction; it also allows for a more complete disc removal and predictable implant insertion, compared with traditional posterior procedures. XLIF also does not require the delicate abdominal exposure or present the same risk of vascular injury as traditional anterior procedures.
Because the procedure is less disruptive than conventional posterior or anterior surgery, most patients are able to get up and walk within approximately a day of the surgery.
In general, XLIF surgery results in faster recovery and the patient is able to get up the next day and return to normal activities shortly after.