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The direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure approaching the lumbar spine from the patient’s side to relieve leg and back pain.  

360 Fusion
360 Fusion

What Is Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF)?

For patients experiencing leg or back pain caused by degenerative disc disease, the minimally invasive direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF) procedure can provide pain relief by removing damaged spinal discs and bone then fusing vertebrae.

By accessing the patient’s lumbar spine from the side of the body, rather than traditional anterior (front) or posterior (back) approaches, the surgery avoids major back muscles, resulting in faster recovery times compared to the traditional “open” back procedures.

Is Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF) Right For Me?

Spinal cord stimulation offers patients highly effective pain relief of the neck, arms, back, and legs when other surgical procedures and nonoperative methods are not viable options for patients. Spinal cord stimulation can also be an option for patients that have experienced or been diagnosed with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS).

As with any type of surgical procedure, each patient’s individual case must be evaluated by a physician and should be considered after nonoperative treatments have failed to provide relief, such as physical therapy, medications, or spinal injections.

Am I a Candidate for Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF)?

For Dr. Bruggeman to evaluate if the direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF) is the right option for your unique case, you may be required to undergo diagnostic procedures of the lumbar spine, including X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and/or a discogram.

The extent of damage or deterioration of the spinal discs and the location of the damaged vertebrae in the spine will guide Dr. Bruggeman’s recommendation of the direct lateral interbody fusion (DLIF) procedure or another minimally invasive interbody fusion. Consulting with Dr. Bruggeman will help you understand which approach is best for your specific pain points and needs.


Take the first step toward a pain-free life. Use our online pain evaluation tool to determine what treatment may be right for you.