The XLIF Procedure
Turning Spine Surgery on Its Side
When performing XLIF back surgery, your surgeon will approach your spine from the side of your body. You will be positioned on your side on the surgical table and two small incisions will be made. One of the incisions will be made on your side – this is the incision from which most of the surgery will be performed. Another incision will be made slightly behind the first, toward your back.
After you have been positioned, an x-ray will be taken to help your doctor precisely locate the operative space. Next, your skin will be marked at the site where the two small incisions will be made. Your surgeon will use the latest instrumentation to access the spine in a minimally disruptive manner. Disc preparation is the next step. This is done by removing the disc tissue, an action which allows the bones to be fused together. Several x-rays will be taken during this stage to ensure the preparation is correct. Once the disc has been prepared, the surgeon will then place a stabilizing implant into the space to restore the disc height and enable the spine to once again support necessary loads. Once in position, a final x-ray will be taken to confirm correct implant placement. In the event that further stabilization is necessary, the surgeon may choose to insert additional screws, rods, or plates into the vertebrae.