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.
Most patients are. However we need to review your imaging studies to determine the right type of minimally invasive surgery for you.
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.
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.
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.
“I’m back to living an active lifestyle after spine surgery!”"
Reviewed by: Dr. Christopher Good, MD, FACS.