The eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) procedure is a minimally disruptive surgical procedure for spine surgery that is performed through the side of the body. It is designed to treat a range of spinal pathologies, including degenerative disc disease (DDD), advanced DDD with degenerative spondylolisthesis, and advanced DDD with degenerative scoliosis.

Using patented nerve monitoring technology, the surgeon gains access to the lateral (side) of the spinal column, while avoiding any major nerves in the area between the incision and the Spine. The XLIF procedure usually does not require an anterior (front) or posterior (back) exposure, and therefore may avoid some of the associated risks of vascular and/or neural injury those approaches have.

Since many patients aren’t familiar with XLIF, we gathered some of the most frequently asked questions about the procedure and have the answers for you:

  • Can I shower after the surgery?

Depending on your surgical incision, you may have showering restrictions. Ask your physician for appropriate instructions.

  • Will I have a scar?

Your physician will discuss the incisions that will be made during an XLIF surgery. Very small scars of approximately one inch are common.

  • When can I drive?

For a period of time after your surgery, you may be cautioned about activities such as driving. Your physician will tell you when you may drive again.

  • Can I travel?

The implants used in the XLIF procedure may activate a metal detector. Because of increased airport security measures, please call your local airport authority before traveling to get information that might help you pass through security more quickly and easily. Ask your physician to provide a patient identification card.

As with any surgery, there are potential benefits and possible risks associated with the XLIF procedure. Individual results will vary. It is important to discuss the possible risks and potential benefits of XLIF with a doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this procedure.

You can learn more about XLIF online. If you’d like to talk with a Patient Ambassador, you can fill out our online form or call us at 800-745-7099.