I'm the first one on s.h. to have this surgery. And many have asked me to report on it. So here is the 15 day assessment from my point of view.
First off you really should type the XLIF surgery in the s.h. search box. Good overviews and videos. then from that site go into SOLAS (society of lateral Access surgery) from there check Nero vision, (nerve monitoring) This will quickly arm you with almost all the info you need. But from there you can go into more info. If you like.
I wasn't a candidate for any surgery at all before this became available.
Briefly, This is a arthroscopic procedure done from the side. A 2 in. cut other than that, no cutting, not of muscles nerves or anything else! I had L2 L3 done. It had no disc and was calcified with spurs. The surgeon estimated 1 hr 45 min. It took a little longer. He said he would lay me on a fluoroscopy table, I think, then a tech attaches a lot of electronic conduction pads to you and to a machine that monitors the surgeon and guides him away from any nerves. As I lay on my left side. He makes his incision and attaches a tool guide and starts going in. Spreading the nerves with tiny surgical "sponges" Then when he gets in he pieces out the old disc. Uses a tool to spread the vertebrae to the desired height, cleans everything up, and puts "plates" in to the height then a basket with BMP and closes up. It generally is a 24 hr. stay. You walk the same day as the surgery. I had to stay an extra day they could not control the pain. that was surgery #6 for me with years of chronic pain and years of meds. Being a "backwards med guy" and methadone as my primary med. Had an effect and nothing they used even came close to touching the pain. But that is a problem most would not have.
In going home I was walking up and down stairs on the first day. And doing 2-15 min. walks a day. Each day was amazing to me, the amount of progress was unbelievable. To day I did 3- 25 min walks. I'm doing things that after my previous surgeries couldn't be done at 4,5, or 6 weeks.
A surgery is a surgery no mater what. So the things that are a disappointment to me are: I still have a lot of pain, I have insomnia because of that, and I'm incredibly stiff. But I think I can put a lot of the blame on, being in chronic pain and on meds for so many years and whether I know it or not, I'm not 40 or 50 anymore. I'm 61 yrs. old and that has to make surgeries a little tougher to bounce back from.
To wind it up I'll say with out a doubt, if I ever had a choice of what kind of fusion surgery I was going to have. It would be a no brainier, XLIF all the way!!!
And for those of you who no longer have to guess at my age, PEE PEE ON YOU!!!
Good luck, Jim
Click my name to see my Medical history
You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!