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Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) and eXtreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) are minimally invasive surgical procedures that relieve pain from spinal instability by fusing vertebrae through incisions in the side of the patient’s body.

Lateral Lumbar Interbody fusion
Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion

What Is Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF or LLIF)?

The minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF or LLIF) allowes the surgeon to approach the spinal fusion from a patient’s side (lateral) instead of from the front (anterior) or back (posterior), thereby avoiding disruption of the major back muscles. The procedure involves removing the affected disc in the lumbar spine and implanting a spacer between the two adjoining vertebrae in order to restore stabilization to the spine and relieve lower back pain.

Patients that undergo a lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF or LLIF) often have faster recovery times than traditional “open” back surgery, and sometimes even faster than minimally invasive procedures that approach the spine from the front or back.

Is Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF & LLIF) Right For Me?

If you have experienced back or leg pain from spinal instability and conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, and injections have not provided relief, Dr. Bruggeman can evaluate if lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF or LLIF) is the right option for you.

Patients suffering from degenerative conditions, spinal deformities like mild to moderate scoliosis, and injuries like recurrent herniated discs, can all be considered for this treatment. Full consultation and diagnosis by Dr. Bruggeman will help determine the best course of treatment for your specific case.

Am I a Candidate for Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF or LLIF)?

Not all patients with degenerative spine conditions or spinal deformities and injuries are ideal candidates for lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF or LLIF) and diagnostic testing of the lumbar spine, including X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and/or a discogram will be necessary.

Evaluating the extent of damage or deformity of the spinal discs and the location of the damaged vertebrae in the spine helps qualify if you may be a candidate. A full consultation with Dr. Bruggeman will determine if lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF or LLIF) is the right option for your unique case.


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