BY: Jonathan A. Hyde, MD
Extreme lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF) is a relatively new approach for the surgical treatment of lumbar degenerative conditions. It is a minimally invasive approach allowing the surgeon to realign and stabilize motion segments from the first lumbar to the fifth lumbar level. The approach affords safe, reproducable access to the front (anterior) portions of the spine without need for the dissection of the major abdominal blood vessels. There is relatively low blood loss and surgical wound morbidity due to the small 1 ½ inch incision, obviating large dissection planes and retraction.