Lateral Interbody Fusion | Virginia Spine Institute

Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF, DLIF)

A Direct Lumbar Interbody Fusion (DLIF) or eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) is a lumbar fusion procedure from the side, or a lateral approach. Typically, this approach is best for patients with spinal abnormalities from the mid to upper lumbar spine as well as the lower thoracic spine. Using a minimally invasive approach, the surgeon will separate the tissue fibers to approach the side of the spine. Once direct visualization is achieved, your surgeon will remove the disc material and place an appropriately sized cage or interbody device with bone graft material into the disc space. By placing an interbody device, this realigns the spine and recreates disc space, thereby decompressing nerves. Further stabilization can be achieved through a plate and/or posterior instrumented fusion.

Conditions That Benefit From Lateral Interbody Fusion

Benefits of Lateral Interbody Fusion

  • Stabilization of the spine
  • Minimally invasive approach to remove degenerative disc causing symptoms
  • Realignment of spine, better posture
  • Able to treat nerve symptoms
  • Access to mid-upper lumbar spine as well as distal thoracic spine

Lateral Interbody Fusion FAQ

Am I a candidate for this procedure?

Most patients are. However we need to review your imaging studies to determine the right type of minimally invasive surgery for you.

Do I have any limitations after surgery?

After fusion surgery, we do ask patients to limit repetitive abdominal core motion and a lifting restriction for up to 3 months to help with the bone healing process.

Can this be performed in the thoracic spine?

This procedure is a great benefit to access certain levels in the thoracic spine. It is a minimally invasive approach that is ideal to decrease risk of spinal cord injury or nerve damage.

Why are there pin-pricks of blood along the arms and legs after this procedure?

During this procedure, your surgeon utilizes neuromonitoring. This involves tiny needles in your arms, legs and scalp, similar to an EMG. This allows for us to monitor your nerves during your surgery.

Meet Our Spinal Surgeons

Dr. Thomas Schuler I Spine Surgeon

Spine Surgeon

Dr. Christopher Good I Spine Surgeon

Spine Surgeon
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Colin Haines I Spine Surgeon

Spine Surgeon
Director of Research

Dr. Ehsan Jazini I Spine Surgeon

Spine Surgeon

Hear From Our Patients

“I’m back to living an active lifestyle after spine surgery!”


– Barbara J.

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