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Lumbar Fusion Surgery (XLIF)

XLIF means eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion, this procedure allows anterior access to the disc space without the complications of an anterior intra-abdominal procedure. 

Reconstructing the spine using advanced Keyhole Lumbar Fusion Techniques.

Most cases of lower back pain can be treated without the need for surgery.  Physical therapy, weight loss, abandoning tobacco, chiropractic treatment, traction, steroid injections, and lifestyle changes have been used as a conventional treatment with positive results.

In exceptional cases, when the aforementioned therapies fail, a specialist from Harley Street Hospital might suggest you improve your condition through a surgical procedure known as lumbar fusion because in these cases the doctor is taking on that the cause of your back pain is a degenerated disc between two vertebrae or a process called spondylolisthesis which involves slipping of the vertebrae that occurs at the base of the spine. This can make bones turn into misalignment of the spine causing problems in the vertebral spinal nerves.

Surgical procedure

First, the doctor performs an incision in the patient´s skin and spine, then will implant fixation devices to maintain the vertebrae in the right position.  These tools are spacers that are put in the disc space between the bones and a system of screws and rods of metal (titanium) in the back part of the bones. Then, the specialist will put bone grafts between and around the abnormal vertebrae, which will turn into a solid piece of bone.

Lumbar fusion recovery

The healing process of this surgery can last from months to more than a year to be successful. So, being patient in this stage is very important. 

In cases of spinal fusion, recovery is generally longer than in other types of spine surgery. Generally, patients remain hospitalised for 4 or 5 days in most centres. Our surgeons use a minimally invasive approach and usually patients stay for 1 night only. Recovery from minimally invasive fusion surgery is far quicker than traditional lumbar fusion surgery.

The return to activities of daily life takes some time, especially for some sports activities where consolidation should be evidenced before giving the authorisation to perform them, which normally appears six weeks after surgery and generally, after 3 or 4 months after surgery.


XLIF means eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion, this procedure allows anterior access to the disc space without the complications of an anterior intra-abdominal procedure. 

The procedure involves going into the spine from the side of your body using a keyhole surgery approach.

The minimally invasive lateral approach of the lumbar spine has achieved promising results in patients with degenerative pathology of the lumbar spine. It is a relatively new technique that allows the surgeon direct lateral access to the space between the vertebrae, by means of which an extensive discectomy is performed (surgical removal of abnormal disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord).

Other benefits are fewer complications in the abdominal wall, less postoperative pain, lower infection rate, lower blood loss, shorter hospital stay and faster return to daily activities.

At Harley Street Hospital, we have the some of the best spinal specialists who perform XLIF.  Book a consultation to get a specialist´s opinion.

Our Spine Specialists


Our Facilities


Doctors Specialising in Spinal Surgery
Mr Mo Akmal Best Spinal Surgeon
Mr Mo Akmal MD is one of London's leading orthopaedic spinal surgeons. ...
Mr Purnajyoti Banerjee
Mr Purnajyoti Banerjee is an Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in Spinal ...
Mrs Anne Mitchenere
Mrs Anne Mitchener qualified in medicine from Cambridge (Downing College ...
Mr Noordeen is a member of the British Orthopaedic Association, ...
Mr Bhagawati is highly qualified, double fellowship trained Complex Spine ...
Mr Anand specialises in advanced minimally invasive spinal surgical interventions ...

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