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XLIF or traditional spinal fusion after failed Lamin/ Disc- HELP!

coyotewildwomanccoyotewildwoman Posts: 130
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am in a quandry here. I live in NZ, but am having my surgery in the US- Colorado, to be specific- in about a month. Just had an MRI and bending XRAY, CT SCAN in Colorado.

I have reherniated my disc, have another ruptured disc, and have severe sciatic unending chronic pain down my leg. I am being told by an number of good neuro surgeons that I need a double fusion because of severe ddd on two discs, among other issues. Basically a big mess.

I am trying to decide between standard fusion procedure( via a "revisionist" neurosurgeon specialist who has done over 1000 revision surgeries) with surgical entry via my back and XLIF ( another well respected but less experienced, less conventional neuro doc) in which my spinal column accessed from my side.

I have heard that XLIF is a less traumatic and painful surgery but have been told by the "revisionist" specialist who has done at least 1000 revision surgeries and has a great reputation, that he is concerned if he uses that XLIF method rather than the traditional method that he may not be able to "clean" everything up.

Have not been able to get tons of info that is not just from the company about XLIF and its success rates.

I am not even sure if the revisionist specialist does XLIF- he seems more like a traditionalist.

Any thoughts on which way to proceed? Anyone had XLIF with success or comments.

I would love to have a shorter, easier recovery and less trauma to my body but I am concerned that XLIF is just the lastest and greatest- with more risk of long term failure. I really want this pain to end, and for this surgery to succeed.

Any comments from others who have had spinal fusions?




  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I've had 3 different type of fusions, Anterior, posterior 360 degree fusion. worst. PLIF, bad. And both with hardware removal. I'm 9 weeks post op with a XLIF, no hardware to remove! I'm without a doubt in better shape at 9 wks. Than I was at 4 mos. with the old fashion surgeries. Hands down XLIF by a huge margin. Plus no muscles cut! plus no nerves cut!
    I have permanent nerve damage (extensive) with my first 2 traditional surgeries. 0 nerve damage with the XLIF! If it had been around when I had my first surgeries, I may have had a life. And not forced to retire.
    You must research, weigh it up, and make your own decision.
    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!
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Personally, for a revision, I would go with the standard posterior approach. XLIF is a new valuable method in some cases but I don't know what its history is in terms of being used as a revision method (where as posterior and anterior versions have a long history of being used in revision). And,, if I'm reading your post right, the doctor who will use the traditional posterior approach has done thousands that way with a high success rate. If so, that would lead me to go with that surgeon and his preferred method.

    I just had my 3rd lumbar fusion. The first two were pure posterior. This one was posterior with access from my side to place an implant between L3 and L4 (took out all the disc). My side incision is at my right hip, is horizontal and about 4 inches long. It's in a place where I'll never notice it once it heals.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Hi, I really understand what u mean. I am 31 and was born with congenital kyphosis. in 1999 I had posterior fusion T12-L2, and anterior release with instrumentation surgery helped then in 2003 I hurt my back and ever since then the pain is in the thorasic area where the rods are, and also have severe pain in the sacro area, and hip. all pain in on the right side,I've been told I have oseoarthritis, had a ct showed herniated L5 S1, had bone scan showed increased radiation dye in thorasic area where rods are said non specific, had mri, said didnt show anything sighnificant. I wonder why he hasn't sent me to get nerve testing. I would like to know why I am in so much pain all day every day, I havent even been able to work at my office job for almost two years, now I am having trouble passing bowel been 8 days, and when get urge to urinate comes so strong have to go right away. I understand what you are going through it is a very big decision try to go with your gut feeling, I,ve been to water therapy, chiropractor, tens unit, inj of sacroliliac joint, cervical inj no improvement. Please help
  • I've gone through the same ideas as you with several Drs. I decided on PLIF as the doc I'm going to said it was the best approach for what ails me (severe scoliosis of the lower spine plus DDD of L2 to L5. I've already had 2 laminotomies on L5-S1 and L3-L4 that lasted for 12 years. I'm now at the end of my rope and it's getting worse every day. Surgery next week on the 7th. I guess I'm lucky cause the doc said he could do this without instrumentation and no general anesthesia. I really didn't want rods and screws in my back as I also have osteoporosis and the doc said that the screws might not hold.

    Hope you find the right solution. Marsha
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