MIS-Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion

MIS-Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion

The MIS Lateral lumbar interbody fusion or so-called eXtreme Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion, known as XLIF®, is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that enables our skilled surgeon to perform the surgery through a small incision on the patient’s side. This advanced procedure treats a variety of lumbar (lower back) spinal conditions, including degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis and certain types of disc herniations. Oftentimes, damaged discs can press onto nearby nerve roots, causing intense, debilitating pain. Depending on the outcome of your consultation with our physicians, MIS-LLIF may be an option.

Some of the benefits associated with an MIS Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion include:

  • Minimally invasive procedure performed through the patient’s side, allowing surgeons easy access to the affected area and the ability to avoid major back muscles.
  • Reduced blood loss and faster healing, due to tiny incisions and less trauma to surrounding areas throughout the surgical procedure.
  • Shortened recovery times that generally allow the patient to return to their daily life, work and activities much sooner than with traditional open surgery.

Our Treatment Approach

This minimally invasive treatment is performed by our expert surgeons and involves two small incisions made along the patient’s side. The rest of the MIS- LLIF procedure generally follows these steps:

  • A probe is carefully inserted into the first incision while the second incision is used to help guide the specially designed surgical tools. The probe is used to stimulate and detect nerves along the side of the spine, allowing the surgeon to completely avoid them. This leaves nerves undamaged as the surgeon locates the damaged disc.
  • Dilation tubes are guided between muscle fibers, preserving tissue rather than cutting it, and a retractor device is used to gently push muscle tissue to the side and give our surgeon clear access to the spine.
  • The damaged disc is removed and an implant filled with bone graft material is inserted into the empty disc space. The bone graft will eventually grow through and around the implant, forming a bone bridge and fusing to the vertebrae.
  • The desired result is a successful spinal fusion, with realigned vertebral bones and removal of the damaged or diseased disc. This relieves pain and alleviates pressure on the nerve roots.

The state-of-the-art MIS-LLIF procedure typically results in less blood loss, less muscle and tissue damage, less scarring and minimal post-operative pain. Because this is considered a minimally invasive procedure, patients experience significantly quicker recovery periods and generally return to their daily lives, work and activities much sooner.


If you are suffering from low-back pain, neck pain, herniated disc, sciatica, pinched nerve and have been researching minimally invasive spine surgery as well as laser spine surgery, schedule an appointment to speak to Dr. T and Microspine Team today. Often, this procedure is covered by healthcare insurance.

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