To my surprise, I found out recently that the extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) procedure I had in October failed to remove disc material that continues to press on nerves at L3-L4. Why did my surgeon not inform me that this minimally invasive procedure also seems to be minimally effective?
I'm shocked that I went through the operation and the lengthy recovery only to find (on an MRI last week) that the herniation that had been causing my pain pre-operatively is still there, pressing against the nerves in my spine. This type of fusion does not remove all the disc material; in fact, quite a lot of it is still there.
I'm just so disappointed, because the XLIF was my third surgery following two previous operations to fuse L4 to S1. Now I face another surgery to do what I thought the XLIF would do. This is such a mess.
My pain is unbearable. I take one to two Norco per day, divided into halves, but even that does not help much. I feel pretty groggy and "drugged" after two pills. I can't continue like this and am hoping a consultation scheduled with another surgeon in another city will lead to some kind of relief, even if it means another surgery and all the pain and discomfort associated with an operation.
Anybody else here have similar problems with XLIF or other procedures that were billed as minimally invasive? I know micro-discectomies are often ineffective in the long run because of the risk of re-herniation. It never occurred to me that a fusion would not include a full discectomy. I'm at a total loss.