Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion

Extreme lateral Interbody fusion (XLIF) is a minimally invasive procedure performed through the side of the body to treat spinal disorders and reduce long-term back or leg pain that has not responded to other treatments, such as steroid injections, physical therapy and pain medication.

XLIF differs from traditional procedures because the surgeon accesses the space between each spinal disc from the patient’s side, rather than from the front or back, sparing major back muscles, bones and ligaments.

Removing The Diseased Disc Tissue

 During the procedure, the patient is positioned on his or her side and the incision is made between the lower ribs and the pelvis. The disc is located after passing instruments through the muscle layers, and the diseased disc tissue is then removed. The physician will place a fusion cage and/or bone graft in the space between the vertebral discs. When the disc is completely removed, utilizing metallic or carbon fiber fusion cages allows the spine to heal between the vertebral discs and for a more stable fusion. Structural support is obtained from the cage while healing goes on both through and around the cage and with bone graft or bone substitutes. The bone graft or cage is held into place by the normal compression of the spine.

The procedure will take approximately 1-3 hours, and the patient will stay in the hospital a couple of days. The recovery period depends on the extent of the surgery, age and health of the patient. A successful surgery reduces the chronic back pain of the patient.

Conditions Treated By Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion

Degenerative Disc Disease

Symptoms Treated By Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion

Back pain when sitting, bending or twisting
Chronic back pain
Chronic neck pain
Tingling in my legs

Service Providers

Henry Small, M.D.

Dr. Small is a board certified orthopedic surgeon. He has 23 years of experience.

Vivek P. Kushwaha, M.D.

Dr. Kushwaha has been honored with the Memorial Hermann Hospital Award for “Most Efficient Surgeon” and was commended as one of “America’s Top Physicians” by The Consumer Research Council of America.