eXtreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) is performed through an incision in the patient’s side, providing access to the spine without having to cut the large muscles of the back. XLIF is generally recommended to treat back and leg pain that may be caused by degenerative disc disease or a bulging or herniated disc. The surgeon will make a small incision and remove the damaged portion of the disc.
Once this has been completed, the surgeon will then implant a spacer or bone graft to stabilize and immobilize the vertebrae of the spine. Eventually, the bones of the vertebrae and the graft will grow together, creating what is known as a fusion.