View Full Version : Has anyone had or heard of the XLIF procedure?

04-07-2008, 11:52 AM
If I go through with the surgery my Dr. mentioned doing the Xlif procedure. This is another minimally invasive surgery where they approach the spine from your side with smaller incisions. Has anyone had this done or heard of it?

04-07-2008, 02:33 PM
I had posted about this several months ago.


There's a short news clip about this. I think there's a question of wether this will have any corrective action on the scoliosis? What has your doc told you?

loves to skate
04-07-2008, 03:24 PM
Hi Rach,
I googled XLIF and came up with this definition:

XLIF stands for eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion. This is a relatively new minimally invasive approach to the anterior spine that avoids an incision that traverses the abdomen and also avoids cutting or disrupting the muscles of the back. In this fusion technique, the disk space is accessed from a very small incision on the patientís side (flank) a couple of inches in length, occasionally with another small incision (one inch long) just behind the first incision. Special retractors are utilized, in addition to a fluoroscopy machine, which provides real-time x-ray images of the spine. In addition, special monitoring equipment is used to determine the proximity of the working instruments to the nerves of the spine. The disk material is removed from the spine and replaced with a bone graft, along with structural support from a cage made of bone, titanium, carbon-fiber, or a polymer. This technique typically allows a shorter hospital stay and may be less painful than traditional approaches to the spine, however it also has limitations. Only those vertebra of the spine that have clear access from the side of the body can be approached using this technique. Also, only one or two levels can usually be accessed via this method.

Obviously this is not a procedure for correcting a scoliosis. It might help a person who would not be able to tolerate a large spinal fusion surgery to relieve pain. It was suggested to me as an alternative surgery by a neurosurgeon, not my scoliosis specialist. I didn't buy it.

04-09-2008, 09:28 AM
Susie and Sherie,

Thank you both for your help and insight! I think my doctor was going to use this method in conjunction with traditional surgery for my degenerative discs. Iím actually not totally sure. Anyway, Iím sure I am just reaching for anything that is going to be less invasive. I just canít get over how freaked out I am over the idea of this surgery, I find myself obsessing over it and the more I research the more confused I seem to get. Alright, now I am just venting :rolleyes: .

Thanks again!

Chihuahua Mama
04-09-2008, 01:36 PM
Hi Rachel. My surgeon has also proposed the XLIF procedure in conjunction with a standard fusion from T10 to L4. He says I require both, and that the XLIF procedure is to remove damaged discs in the lumbar area. He explained that XLIF is actually less intrusive for those particular discs. From what research I've done, he's a well thought of surgeon in Beverly Hills; Cedars Sinai, and I don't have doubts about the procedure or his recommendation; but I am going to get yet a fourth opinion about my surgery from UCLA surgeon, then make my final decision.

I think looking at a video only probably isn't enough to educate yourself - I do think the XLIF procedure is a bit "cutting edge". I don't think you can get enough opinions about this type of life changing surgery, though and I intend to be thoroughly prepared by the time I have it! Best of luck to you :)

04-10-2008, 08:51 AM
Chihuahua Mama,

Thank you for your reply. :) I should have asked my doctor a little more about the procedure. I was just too nervous thinking about surgery. I see him in another 6 months, which should give me enough time to think of all my questions. I would still like to get a couple more opinions first.

Have you set a date for your surgery?

Chihuahua Mama
04-13-2008, 04:18 PM
No, I haven't set a date yet, but after today, I'm so ready. I stood too long this morning (talking with someone and was embarrassed to say..."I have to sit down" so like a dummy, let my back go into spasms), then had to do some light housework and I'm in so much pain today!

Speaking of getting more opinions: my surgeon has recommended T10 to L4 fused, along with the XLIF. It's sort of funny when I think of the first surgeon I say and what he wanted to do...the Dynesis sytem, and only on 3 levels. When I told this surgeon what the other doc recommended..he said a surgery like that was equivalent to "pissing in the ocean" and I needed my whole lumbar area stabilized with fusion. A big difference, it's really important to get more than one opinion. The second surgeon refused to touch me when he saw the scoliosis.

I'm so worried about the recovery period - I'm 50, plus I'm a big baby when it comes to pain and not being able to do for myself. But in the end I know I'll be able to take up walking my fat lil Chihuahua again and go shopping at the mall, and not have to schedule every little thing I do around my back!

04-14-2008, 08:17 AM
Chihuahua Mama,

I'm sorry to hear you are in pain. I feel the same way. I am terrified of the surgery, pain, needles, recovery, but feeling itís time for me to have it done. I have very mixed emotions about the whole thing. Do you at least have a good support system like friends and family? How you found the doctor to perform your surgery? Keep me posted. :)