What is a Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF)?
The Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF or XLIF) technique is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed through the side of the body.
It is designed to treat a range of spinal pathologies. Using nerve monitoring technology, DR. Rezaiamiri gains lateral (side) access to the spinal column, avoiding any major nerves in the area between the incision and the column.
The LLIF procedure does not require an anterior (front) or posterior (back) exposure, and thereby does not present the same risks of vascular and/or neural injury as traditional approaches.
XLIF Surgery Procedure
XLIF is another name for LLIF, and it stands for Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion. The benefits of XLIF are the decreased surgical time as compared to typical spinal fusion. The XLIF surgical operation can be completed in as little as an hour which means less time under anesthesia. That also means there is less blood loss, scarring and tissue disruption. Overall this means that the recovery time from an XLIF is much quicker, and most patients can walk the evening after the surgery and are discharged the next day.
Is LLIF surgery right for me?
If you require spinal surgery, Dr Rezaiamiri may determine that the LLIF procedure is a good option for you. Some examples of pathologies (conditions) that may benefit from the LLIF procedure include:
- Degenerated discs and/or facet joints that cause unnatural motion and pain
- Anterior slippage of one vertebra over another (degenerative spondylolisthesis)
- Change in the normal curvature of the spine (degenerative scoliosis)
Conversely, Dr. Rezaiamiri may determine that an LLIF procedure is not a good option for you. It is important to discuss this with Dr. Rezaiamiri in order to determine the best course of treatment for you.
XLIF Surgery Success Rate
XLIF surgery has a high fusion success rate of 93% or more, plus decreased rates of infection compared to traditional spinal fusion techniques. With an XLIF some patients experience significantly reduced pain in the back and legs immediately after surgery, while others experience the symptoms going away slowly over time.
XLIF Surgery Recovery Time
Due to the lack of cutting into muscle, since XLIF only splits muscles, and generally being a less invasive procedure many patients can walk around the night after their surgeries. The amount of time needed in the hospital depends on how many vertebrae were fused, the severity of symptoms beforehand and overall health of the patient. Due to the number of factors involved some patients leave the same day, and some stay a few days to a week for the hospital recovery period. Normal activities can be resumed a few months after the surgery.