What is Lateral Access Surgery?
Lateral access is a safe and reproducible means of addressing certain spine disorders with an approach from the side of the patient, as opposed to an approach from the back (posterior) or the front (anterior). A lateral (side) approach is made safe with the use of nerve monitoring technology (NeuroVision® from NuVasive,® Inc.).
A New Avenue for Treatment
The XLIF® (eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion) procedure provides relief to patients who cannot tolerate a larger, open back surgery because of the increased risks of longer anesthesia time, blood loss, hospitalization, and recovery. It is also a less invasive alternative for patients who have lived with back or leg pain through years of various failed treatments, including steroid injections, physical therapy, and pain medication. The XLIF® procedure includes the use of NeuroVision®, a technologically advanced nerve monitoring system (EMG), allows the surgeon to have accurate, reproducible, real-time feedback about nerve health, location, and function, reducing the incidence of nerve injury during surgery.
- Reduced operative time – Traditional procedures can take up to 5 hours; the XLIF procedure can be successfully completed in as little as one hour, reducing the amount of anesthesia time.
- Reduced blood loss and minimal scarring – Less-invasive procedure allows for less tissue disruption, resulting in reduced blood loss.
- Reduced postoperative pain – The XLIF procedure does not require entry through sensitive back muscles, bones, or ligaments.Many patients are usually walking the same day after surgery.
- Reduced hospital stay – Patients are typically walking the same day after surgery and require only an overnight stay in the hospital, compared to several days of immobility and hospitalization typical of traditional open approaches
- Rapid return to normal activity – Patients are usually walking the same day after surgery. Recovery is typically around 6 weeks, compared to 6 months or more.
Spine and Back Injuries in the United States
- An estimated 10 million adults suffer from chronic back pain annually. The majority of patients have problems with degenerative and related conditions. These degenerative conditions can result in instability and compression of the spinal nerves, causing back pain and/or radiating pain in the arms or legs.
- Before recommending back surgery, physicians usually first prescribe nonsurgical treatments, including lifestyle changes, bed rest, medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and steroid injections. When these treatments are not effective, some patients require spine surgery. It is estimated that over one million patients undergo spine surgery each year in the U.S.
- Acute pain comes on suddenly, and can be severe, but lasts a relatively short time. Chronic pain is a persistent state of pain that does not get better, on it's own, over time. It can be brought on by injury or illness.
- Back pain can be felt constantly or intermittently, and may be a dull ache or a sharp, piercing, or burning sensation. The pain can stay in one place or refer or radiate to other areas, such as the front, side, back, legs, and neck.
Some of the more common causes of back pain originate in the muscles and/or nerves.
Back pain can be the result of a sudden, awkward movement, strained back muscles and ligaments, or lifting heavy objects or using improper form when lifting objects.
Pressure or impingement of nerve roots in the spinal canal can be caused by herniated discs, arthritic conditions, bone spurs, or displacement of vertebrae, and can result in pain throughout all areas of the back, and often into the extremities.