Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion commonly known as XLIF is a medical process which is traditionally performed along the side of a patient’s body in order to treat a specific disorder that has affected the spine. Lateral inter body Fusion process also helps reduce leg and back pain that other methods and therapies cannot treat.
Comparing the traditional treatment procedure, XLIF is different; the space alongside every spinal disc is accessed by the surgeon from the patient’s side, thus sparing major backbones and muscles, and ligaments. Among several benefits of XLIF, a few of them are listed:
- Lower blood loss — Since the process is minimally invasive, it reduces blood loss and less tissue disruption.
- Reduction in the surgery time — The procedure of XLIF can be concluded in very little time, thus decreasing the time of exposure of patients during the surgery in anesthesia.
- Quickly getting back to everyday life — It is observed that patients are usually able to start walking on the day of surgery completion. Even though full recovery takes a few months, it is comparatively faster than other traditional processes.
- Less pain — Since the patient’s intervertebral disc space from the side is accessed by the surgeon, XLIF does not affect sensitive backbones, muscles, and ligaments.
The surgeon does surgery on the areas close to nerves on the spinal column in Lateral Inter body Fusion. To prevent nerve damage, EMG or electromyography is done. This gives surgeons real-time information about their instrument’s position on the nerve.
XLIF takes almost an hour to complete, and is performed once anesthesia is given to the patient. The steps of the surgery are as follows:
- Once the concerned individual is put to sleep, they are effectively turned towards their side. A surgeon will use an X-ray to mark the skin just above the disc to locate the disk.
- A small cut will be made at the back. The surgeon places their finger through this incision to protect the peritoneum as the instruments make their way to the spine.
- A second incision is also made to give the instrument a way to remove the herniated disc.
- Special instruments such as tubular dilators are inserted through the muscle. Here, X-rays and EMG guide the tool and help doctors keep the device away from the nerve.
- A tissue retractor is used once tubular dilators are placed to lock the surgical table and keep the small incision open.
- An implant is fixed and filled with a bone graft for fusion into the empty disc space.
- Now, the retractor is removed, and the incisions made are now stitched and closed.
Inter body Fusion Overview
XLIF is less disruptive than traditional surgery; because of this, most patients can walk after the completion of surgery on the same day. For more information on XLIF, you can visit the website of Dr. Jwalant S. Mehta. He is one of the finest spinal surgeons in the UK who has helped solve multiple health related issues for thousands of people around the world.
He is excellent at treating back pain in children and adolescents, therefore is widely considered as the best spinal deformity surgeon in UK.