Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF): a novel surgical technique for anterior lumbar interbody fusion

Spine J. 2006 Jul-Aug;6(4):435-43. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2005.08.012.


Background: Minimally disruptive approaches to the anterior lumbar spine continue to evolve in a quest to reduce approach-related morbidity. A lateral retroperitoneal, trans-psoas approach to the anterior disc space allows for complete discectomy, distraction, and interbody fusion without the need for an approach surgeon.

Purpose: To demonstrate the feasibility of a minimally disruptive lateral retroperitoneal approach and the advantages to patient recovery.

Methods/results: The extreme lateral approach (Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion [XLIF]) is described in a step-wise manner. There have been no complications thus far in the author's first 13 patients.

Conclusions: The XLIF approach allows for anterior access to the disc space without an approach surgeon or the complications of an anterior intra-abdominal procedure. Longer-term follow-up and data analysis are under way, but initial findings are encouraging.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / surgery
  • Equipment Design
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Internal Fixators*
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Patient Selection
  • Spinal Fusion / instrumentation
  • Spinal Fusion / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome